Think caring for a newborn is hard? Try a newborn that's still attached to its placenta!
The all-natural trend, called Lotus Birth or umbilical nonseverance, calls for a mother to allow the umbilican border to detach from her baby naturally, The New York Post reported.
In practical terms, that means carting around a blob of red matter (aka the placenta) that can stayed plugged into the baby's tummy for up to 10 days.
Mary Ceallaigh, a Lotus Birth advocate and midwife educator, talks with The Post about the benefits to the non-traditional practice and how it can help with the mother and baby's health. The 47-year-old Austin, Texas native, who's helped in more than 100 natural births, says keeping the umbilical cord intact is actually a beautiful thing.
Q: What made you start believing in the importance of the Lotus Birth?
I first learned of Umbilical Nonseverance from Jeannine Parvati, an expert on prenatal yoga. She taught me there are natural and safe ways for mothers to give birth.
Q: What are the best reasons to practice Lotus Birth?
There’s no wound created at the umbilical site, which lessens the chance of infection.
It allows a complete transfer of placental/cord blood into the baby at a time when the baby needs that nourishment the most. Babies’ immune systems are going through huge changes at a very rapid rate when they’re first born. Not disrupting the baby’s blood volume at that time helps prevent future disease.
The mother and baby benefit from having all the focused placed on bonding, rather than the common focus of "who's going to cut the cord, cut the bond?" Invading the natural process when there's a healthy mother and baby is likely to cause harm in some way seen or unseen.
Q: How often do you see patients practice Lotus Birth ?
About five percent of the clients I’ve worked with have practiced Lotus Birth.
Q: How do you eat meals, go to the restroom or run errands with a placenta attached to your newborn?
The cord usually dries and breaks off by the third day, so no mother would be running errands during that time anyway...hopefully not until at least the fourth week after giving birth!
In humid conditions, however, it may take up to 10 days for the cord to break, particularly in areas like Bali or the Australian rainforest. In these cases, the early weeks after giving birth is even more low key for the mother - and that can be a good thing....
While the placenta remains attached, it’s kept in a nice cloth, and the cord is wrapped in silk or cotton ribbon. Babies are left on a safe surface or with a caregiver while the mother goes to the restroom. For cuddling and nursing, the placenta pillow is kept near the mother and baby.
Q: Does the placenta start to smell after a while? How soon does it start to smell? What does it smell like?
If the placenta has air circulating around it like through cloth, there’s no odor for the first day. There’s a slight musky smell the second and third day.
After the cord breaks, some mothers like to keep the wrapped placenta in a special place in their bedroom, and if it has not had a salt or herbal treatment and its cloth isn’t changed, it will start to smell gamey, indeed. But the kind of terrible, stinky, decayed smell that some fear is a non-issue when proper procedures are followed. The only time that sort of thing happens is if the placenta is wrapped in a plastic wrap or sealed in a Tupperware container— that is a whole other situation, and not a good one, as the placenta will rot before it dries.