Ever hear of a Lotus Birth? Don’t eat while you read this blog post!

photo of newborn with intact umbilicus, one ho...

photo of newborn with intact umbilicus, one hour postpartm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

* Edit – these thoughts are just why I PERSONALLY wouldn’t choose to do this. I can only write what I know, and what I feel. If anyone has any information on the benefits to a Lotus Birth, and a link as to why it should be considered, feel free to leave it in the comments section and I will gladly edit my post to include it and have both perspectives.

Have you ever heard of a Lotus birth? This rather new parenting trend was recently brought to my attention, and my first instinct was to barf all over my keyboard as I read about it.

Before I start with MY TAKE on just how messed up I think a Lotus Birth is, let me fill you in on what it’s all about.  

After a baby is born, the conventional medical thing to do is to clamp and cut the umbilical cord right after birth. Some people do a delayed cord cutting (an hour or two tops) as they wait for the cord to stop pulsing which allows the last of the cord blood to enter the baby’s blood stream. I can completely get behind that concept, and think there are great benefits to the practice of delayed cord cutting.

HOWEVER, with a Lotus birth, you don’t cut the umbilical cord at all. You leave the cord attached to the baby AND to the placenta. You bathe your placenta in a salt bath (to apparently aid in reducing the STENCH, and you can also “scent” your placenta if you wish), place the placenta into a little cotton carrying bag – design of your choosing – and bring home baby, placenta and the attached umbilical cord as a package deal. Then, you wait for the umbilical cord to naturally fall away from the baby – a process which can take anywhere from 3-10 DAYS!

So let’s start with the benefits of a Lotus Birth. Apparently babies who remain attached to their placentas after birth are more content and relaxed as the placenta is comforting to them. They can be less affected by jaundice, lose less weight, and apparently continue to get nutrients from the placenta while it dries up. (** I’ve also since been told that it is often a spiritual/cultural thing, where people believe the spirit/chi/soul of the baby is in the placenta and that if you leave all attached, the soul will be able to fully enter the baby’s body without being severed. I wasn’t aware of this, and think that is actually a pretty cool concept! Also, in these cultures the mother often goes nowhere for 40 days, and has mothers/aunts etc. help take care of her.She is simply expected to rest. Still not for me, but at least now I have been enlightened as to why it is done). All ok points, but for me the negatives outweigh the postives.

Here’s my take on this:

1) I get it. The placenta is the new “in thing” for birthing mama’s. First there were placenta pills, then placenta jewelry (yes, that’s a real thing – not on my Christmas list!), and now you get to spend a crap ton of money on a cotton bag to carry around a rotting flesh organ for up to 10 days. That’s right, days. I just don’t think I’ll ever relate to the placenta loving Mama’s. Just not my thing. These bags aren’t cheap either! Here’s one I found here on etsy, and it costs $95.55! http://www.etsy.com/shop/LotusBorn

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2) If this becomes mainstream, you can be sure that some hippie granola celebrity Mom is going to have a custom designed Balenciaga placenta bag. Or Louis Vuitton. Or Prada. Prada Placenta bags. Oh the possibilities (and increased profit margins) are endless.

3) Wait a minute. If you have all of these design choices for placenta bags, and people are charging $100 bucks for a cotton sack, doesn’t the whole thing become “designer” and “mainstream”? Would that not be exactly what an au natural granola Mom would be against?

4) If you delay cutting the umbilical cord until the pulse stops, you’re not looking at more than one day (let alone a few hours). With this process, it can be 3-10 days. Could you imagine?!? “Awww can I hold the baby? She’s so adorable!” Ahhh sure you can, but you also have to drape the cord over your arm and hold this bag of decaying flesh as well. Oh don’t mind the smell, I’ll just spritz it. BARF!

5) Heaven forbid you have to go to the grocery store. How do you manage the baby, a shopping cart, and a placenta bag? It’s hard enough with just the baby! Oh, and what about the poor people who work at the store and have to check all outside bags for shoplifting? “Excuse me Ma’am, you can’t carry your own shopping bags around the store. Please use the designated shopping cart only. Do you mind if I search your bag?”. That’s going to be a shocker!

6) You thought Baby-wearing was a trend! You obviously haven’t tried PLACENTA WEARING! If feeling so close to your baby feels that good, imagine what it feels like to feel that close to a piece of your very own insides! There’s no love like self-love, baby!

7) So it’s bath time. Yay! Where do you put the placenta? Make sure you don’t get it wet. The only thing worse than the smell of slowly decaying organ in a bag, is WET AND MILDEWY slowly decaying organ in a bag. BARF, BARF, BARF! Oh and make sure you manoeuver that bag carefully. You don’t want to accidentally kneel on it when you’re bathing dear baby. SQUISH – BARF!

8) Just how often do you have to give your placenta a salt bath? Because let’s face it, as a new Mom you barely have time to bathe yourself, let alone something that’s dying in an overpriced bag.

Uggh. I could go on and on and on about how much I really am not into this idea, but I have to stop before I get even more nauseated. I’m sure there are some who will completely disagree with me, and I’m sure there are some who will send me hate mail. That’s fine, we are all entitled to our opinions, this is simply mine. That’s the wonderful thing about giving birth. You have the choice to do it your way with whatever method you feel is best for you and your baby. But no matter what you say, I’m sure as hell going to stick to doing it my way!

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36 thoughts on “Ever hear of a Lotus Birth? Don’t eat while you read this blog post!

  1. lol we actually paid someone to come in and take the cord blood and we banked it. I think it is far more beneficial for my kid sitting in a bank somewhere where it may be able to used if god forbid something terrible happens to him later in life than it would be hanging around off his body for 10 days. I’m sticking with my long term option!!! Although if I wasn’t going to do it I would consider delayed cord cutting or whatever it is. But there is NO WAY I’m ever carrying a stinky placenta around.

  2. I birthed Monkey at home (that’s how crunchy I am!) and we waited until his cord stopped pulsing before we cut it. Which was maybe 10 minutes. From what I read, babies are born with only about 2/3 their blood volume as it makes them easier to squeeze out! And we thought he should have his full blood volume and all the stem cell goodness. I read about lotus birth while pregnant and OH MY HELL NO. Also… The umbilical cord stank like rot – I can only imagine what the whole damn placenta must smell like!

    • Yay, home birth! Pediatricians like to say exclusive breastfeeding causes anemia in babies. For some reason they DON’T think starting out with 1/3 of their blood missing has anything to do with it… I had the placenta encapsulated the second time: it made recovery for me WAY WAY WAY easier. It not only keeps new mom from running headfirst over the hormone cliff, it replaces most of the iron new mom loses during childbirth. Consuming the placenta (in pill form for me, I just don’t see how it’s possible otherwise…) is traditional in most ancient cultures (not to mention among all mammals). Lotus birth sounds too new-agey to me. Not to mention disgusting.

      • I could see having my placenta encapsulated, and I do think that makes scientific sense. Lotus birth not so much. But I only lost 50ml of blood during my delivery (also partly because of the delayed cord cutting I believe) so for me recovery was pretty easy anyway!

      • Yeah, whatever the crazypants inventor of Lotus birth was smoking…it must have covered up the stench.

        Even if you didn’t lose much blood, you’d still have the hormone cliff. Taking the placenta pills is like wearing a parachute. And now that I’ve beaten the analogy into a pulp, I’ll stop.

      • Haha. Yes; creepy even?

        Placenta encapsulation isn’t as bad as you’re thinking. It’s like taking any supplement in a capsule. And they’re kept in the freezer. I called them my happy pills. Seriously.

  3. omg… that main photo you have just popped up on my reader and totally caught me off guard. Lucky I wasn’t eating at the time. Certainly different strokes for different folks! Just like for those people who want to take the placenta home to eat it. *barf*

  4. I read about this a few months ago and was completely skeeved out by the idea. Just eeeewwwww. Just wrong. It doesn’t seem safe or sanitary, and I can’t imagine the smell. YUCK. Not only that, but I am extremely hormonal and whiny after having a baby, and I could just imagine in the middle of the night, while feeding the baby or something, squishing that thing, and just start bawling because I thought I hurt the baby or something.

  5. Yeah, not really my idea of fun. I’m quite into the all-natural thing, but I’ve never seen an animal walking around with a placenta over it’s shoulder, waiting for it to fall off. Too weird for me without enough science behind the benefits. To be honest I’d rather eat it ;-).

  6. Well… I’m all for delaying the cord clamping. And I can even get behind encapsulating the placenta (I suffered ppd and its said to help prevent that.) I didn’t do either of these things with my pregnancies. The first I didn’t know about it yet and the second/third I wasn’t given the option because of the emergency situation. BUT lotus seems to just kind of take it too far. My girls came home on monitors for apneas and heart rate drops so I had to carry a bag around with each of them. It was so stressful and inconvenient. Wires were always in the way. It made nursing confusing and we got tangled often. So I’m on the side of just saying no.

  7. O.M.F.G. When I did my first prenatal class with baby #1, and the doula asked me what I wanted to do with my placenta, I almost died of shock. My mouth literally hung on the floor for 30 minutes after i found out that people keep it, or eat it or whatever.
    But THIS? I can’t even. Not even a little bit.
    Sweet Jesus.

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone on this lol. I thought it may start some drama about me being insensitive, etc.
      Like I said, to each their own when it comes to delivery, but for the reasons listed above, I will NEVER choose it for myself.

  8. That’s definatly not for me. I caught a glimpse of my placenta after my son was born….there was no way I was carrying that thing around for days. I delaying cutting the cord for a few minutes but I had no hard feelings after that.

  9. If the granola moms want to be au natural then they should gnaw off the cord like other mammals. This is just one more thing put out there to make “normal” moms feel like they aren’t doing the best thing for their baby. On a side note the delayed cord clamping isn’t necessary either. Most term babies have a normal hematocrit and giving them “extra” blood can increase this further which can increase jaundice from the RBC lysing ( in my NICU RN experience)

    • Why do we have to be for or against stuff that other mums do??!
      wouldn’t life be boring if we didn’t try new concepts and ideas? And wouldn’t it be stifling if we couldn’t do that lest people judge one anothher for doing weird and ‘disgusting’ stuff (so much stuff we do now has been termed disgusting over the years…).
      Rotting stuff? Hello cured sausages and gorganzola cheese…
      I don’t know why people do lotus birth, but if it makes them feel good and isn’t harming anyone, who cares!
      For the record (or just to gross you out, maybe) i froze my placenta in small cubes and whizzed a bit up every day in a smoothy. Couldn’t taste a thing, and gave me iron and other minerals and hormones I probably needed. Why not!?

      • Which is exactly why I said at the bottom that the great thing about giving birth is that you can choose to do it whatever way you like. These were just my personal reasons as to why I could never do it. 🙂
        The placenta encapsulations for consumption postpartum I don’t find nearly as hard to wrap my head around as this, as I’ve had many people tell me how beneficial it is, and I’ve seen the research to back it up. To each their own, this just isn’t fore me. 🙂

  10. oh dear lord whatever next????
    Aren’t we doing enough already????? i mean seriously now – we go from one extreme to the other. My mum got off REALLY lightly: epidural, formula from day one, etc etc
    We now have to feel guilty if we aren’t carrying the placenta around for a few days.
    Enough!

  11. yeah, I’m all for natural and granola birthng but that is a bit much for me. Even more gross to me is eating your own placenta..I remember reading alot about that during pregnancy…apparently Kim Kardashian is going to eat hers. Another super Hollywood thing to do. haha!

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