We know about the great benefits of delayed cord clamping, but do you know about a Lotus Birth?
The lotus birth dates back in history as a ceremonial bond between mother, baby, and placenta. These three relate to the trinity, which in many religions is thought to be sacred. For Christians, the trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - three people considered to be one. For the Greeks, it was Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne - the daughters of Zeus and known as the Charities. They were thought to resemble grace, charm, and beauty. In Hindu religions, Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the protector; and Shiva, the destroyer make their male trinity. Their female trinity consists of Lakshmi, Parvati, and Kali. The fact that it is part of so many religions and been around for thousands of years, backs up how strongly the trinity is to human belief. It is only natural that we would have a trinity for our sacred motherhood: the mother, baby, and placenta.
Points referenced from: Ibu Robin Lim: Placenta, The Forgotten Chakra
So What EXACTLY Is It?
A lotus birth means that after the baby and placenta are birthed, they are kept connected and the cord is NOT cut, but instead left to naturally separate. Say Whuh? Cool, I know right? This allows for the blood flow to fully transfer from the placenta to the baby. It is an extension to delayed cord clamping, but allows for the cord to appear completely white and stay attached. You may see #waitforwhite as it is becoming better known, due to the great benefits.
After the blood transfer is complete the baby stays attached and there is no cutting of the cord. In our culture it is so common for the partner to be the one to cut the cord as a tradition, so hopefully he isn’t too upset in this type of birth J. The placenta then gets washed and salted on both sides, several times to help preserve it. It is then wrapped in cloth and placed into a woven basket with plenty of holes to allow for air flow or “breathing of the placenta”. This encourages the drying process. The cloths are changed and more salting continues several times a day. Sometimes herbs are added as well.
Side Note: It is a great idea to decorate the basket in those final weeks leading up to birth to help get excited and to stay focused on the wonderful birth to come. You can paint it with birth affirmations or even just pretty little flowers or what not, tie bows or feathers, anything you want.
This process is done for the duration of the time that the cord is still attached to the baby. This can be anywhere from three days to about nine days, but really varies per baby. Think about the time it takes for the cord stump to fall off from the baby and it is the same idea. During this time it is most important that the placenta is kept close to the baby to avoid pulling of the cord on the baby.
Why Do It?
A lotus birth is not only the most natural way to separate mom and baby, but there are several benefits. The first, as mentioned above allows for full transfer of blood from placenta to baby. When the placenta is left attached for even an hour after birth, it has been found that cancer fighting T Cells get transferred. CANCER FIGHTING CELLS PEOPLE! That is just amazing, our body creating something so strong and important. A lotus birth also allows for great bonding between the mother and baby and an actual REAL postpartum recovery. It encourages the mother to stay with baby, rest, and really stay put, since the placenta is still with the baby and connected in the basket, carrying the baby around and going out and about is just hard. This then encourages her support team to help as well, which can really help make a mother feel supported and love. Two things that a new mom really need most in such a special time.
Can You Still Encapsulate?
Absolutely! As long as the placenta is salted and the cloths are changed consciously and properly, it actually helps preserve the placenta for encapsulation. So as soon as the cord is detached, encapsulate away!
Will My Hospital Allow It?
In the birth world, we are all pretty aware that the world between hospital/OB and midwife/doula is different. We like to call ourselves “Birth Junkies” and are all PROUD of it! Some hospitals care, some do not. Some may allow it for the “Golden Hour” some may allow it for the time you are in the delivery room, but require it be cut before you got to recovery. Some may only allow the delayed cord clamping. In any case, some form of lotus birth is better than none. I personally did a partial lotus with my daughter and kept her attached for about three hours. I made it clear to my midwife what my intension were and made sure she was on board. The main take away from this is letting your care provider know your wishes and making sure they know how important it is to you way beforehand. Talking about it a lot also helps, ya know, like REMINDING them at every visit haha. If you are planning a home birth or have a midwife that does home births, then you have free range to really do whatever your mommy heart desires.
My daughter Faye and my Lotus Birth variation
Remember, in these times of changing women’s health, the most important player in the game is YOU! You have to be strong and fight for what you want and advocate for yourself. It also never hurts for your partner and doula to help be that voice for you!
Emma-The Womb Within
Check out this great blog from Mom Loves Best that also talks about lotus birth