Moms-to-be are reverting to increasingly natural births. The latest in going it au naturel involves leaving the umbilical cord attached following delivery rather than cutting it off, a phenomena known as a Lotus Birth.
According to an article in the Daily Mail, mothers opting for 'umbilical nonseverance' allow the cord to detach naturally in the days following labour. That's right—days. It reportedly takes up to 10 days for the placenta and cord to fall away, meaning moms have to cart around the birthing luggage, so to speak.
Lotus Birth advocate and midwife educator, Mary Ceallaigh, believes mom and baby both reap numerous health benefits from leaving the cord in situ: from diminished risk of infection and added nourishment "at a time when the baby needs [that] the most." Not to mention the very literal bonding perks of being tied together!
If you're struggling to get your head around the idea, 47-year-old Ceallaigh claims it's easier than you might expect, with around five percent of her client base now opting for a Lotus Birth.
In most cases the cord dries off around the third day, anyway, so it should not impede the mother's schedule. In humid areas, though, the process can take longer, so mothers should be prepared to do less. Not a bad thing, really.
But what about the, er, smell? Ceallaigh insists that if the placenta is kept in a nice cloth and the cord itself wrapped in silk or cotton, the cord should remain odourless for the first day, and then "slight musky" by the second and third day. But she strongly cautions about keeping it in plastic wrap or in a sealed tupperware container since the placenta risks rotting before it dries out. And no doubt that would be just nasty.
The other important consideration is laying the baby on a safe, flat surface while the mother goes about her business. Fans of the Lotus swear by the perfect belly button that comes with letting the cord fall off on its own.
"When one cuts the cord, the navel does not heal for at least two weeks," said Ceallaigh.
Are you convinced? Would you consider going Lotus for a future birth?