MD entitled "The New Physics of Healing" (audio CD, 2002) and "Lotus Birth: The Water Birth of the Malcolm Twins (DVD 2006). It
integrates the work of Sarah Buckley MD, Robin Lim (Midwife), Frederick LeBoyer MD, Michel Odent MD, Jeannine Parvati (Midwife), Shivam
Rachana (Midwife), and Donna Young. For additional evidence-based references on the benefits of nonclamping, extended-delayed approaches,
and umbilical nonseverance, see the well known medical textbook Examination of the Newborn & Neonatal Health: A Multidimensional
Approach by Davies, Leap, McDonald. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008.
Q: What is Lotus Birth exactly?
A: The practice of maintaining umbilical integrity and neonatal intactness - nonseverance of the umbilical cord -
and absence of any potential portal of navel infection. Also called "Umbilical Nonseverance" or "Navel Integrity
Practice." The baby, cord, and placenta are treated as one unit, as they are all originate from the same
cellular source (egg and sperm) and are a molecular unit. Short lotus birth (severance of the fully internally
sealed and shrunken cord 4-6 hours after birth) is a common practice in traditional midwifery and indigenous
culture in all regions of the earth, and full lotus birth (nonseverance, allowing the cord to dry to sinew and
naturally detach) was a practice mentioned in diaries of the early American West european settlers who
produced some of the hardiest children known in American history... and valued everything they had. Navel
integrity practice is a common protocol in the Balinese Bumi Sehat Yayasan birth centers today, and is an
informed choice option for women throughout the world, regardless of where the birth occurs (birth center,
home, or hospital). According to Rachana Shivam, editor of the text entitled "Lotus Birth," lotus births have
occurred at several teaching hospitals in Australia, and medical professional continuing education on the
subject is occurring.
This informed choice practice requests healthcare providers to follow the protocols of "Passive Management" of
Third Stage Labor, and also forego invasive cord clamping. The baby is born and remains attached to its cord
while the placenta is birthed. The baby's placenta-cord is kept in-situ with the baby, gently wrapped in cloth
or kept in an uncovered bowl near the mother, and the cord is sometimes wrapped in silk ribbon up to the
baby's belly. The cord quickly dries and shrinks in diameter, similar to sinew, and detaches often by the 3rd
Postpartum day (but up to a week in certain humid indoor air conditions) leaving a perfect navel.
Interestingly, extended-delayed cord clamping & severing (just waiting more than an hour after the baby's
birth), results in quicker cord stump healing, with an average of only one week for detachment of the stump,
which makes a big difference for diaper changing!)
Q: Why bother to question cord-cutting protocols? Why change family traditions?
A: Care providers and parents who have experienced Lotus Birth babies observe that they are demonstrably
more relaxed and peaceful babies who do not manifest the common (and stressful to baby and mother) 1 lb.
newborn weight loss and breastfeeding jaundice that is associated with the first week of life after "normal"
birth's cord cutting, particularly cord cutting within an hour of birth. These observations have yet to be studied
by university hospital pediatrics, though hospital lotus births have taken place in Australia. Needless to say, a
beneficial impact on child and family development is what motivates the exploration of non-severance options.
These intact Lotus babies lose no energy just trying to stabilize their systems in the early postpartum hours
and this shows on all levels (relaxation, bountiful healthy weight gain, core muscle strength, fine & gross
motor skills, and alert observation of the world around them). This could be called 'accelerated development'
but that would be a misnomer: Lotus babies are simply undiminished by stress in a very stressful culture.
Their greater capacity for relaxation, compared to nurslings who had early cord severance and placenta loss, is
apparently a metabolic foundation for life, and makes teething and other developmental stages much less
distressful. It could be concluded that Lotus birth gives babies lifelong coping skills.
Q: What is the connection between Lotus Birth and Yoga principles?
A: The practice of "Non-severance"was revived by modern Yoga practitioner parents who were exploring
natural birth in the 1980s and thus began to be called "Lotus Birth", connecting the esteem held in the east
for the Lotus to the esteem held for the intact baby as a holy child, with a great esteem for practices that
support birth without violence (See the book Birth Without Violence by French obstetrician Frederick Leboyer).
Ahimsa, (non-violence in action and thought within one's self and towards others), is a fruit of Yoga practice
and a core value of the yogic lifestyle. It is from the writings and leadership by Gandhi in Ahimsa that India
was freed from British colonialism, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civil rights inspired marches followed soon
after. Approaching birth options with Ahimsa in mind is something that can create a tremendous liberation of
creative energies, freeing the potential of birth & early parenting to be a peaceful experience for the human
family at large. There is a great range in degree of Ahimsa facilitated by various western midwives and doulas,
depending on their training, values, and personal development.
The fully aware, intact human child carries an inner universe of potential, just like the Lotus flower whose
seeds are actually plantlet embryos, containing everything needed to "Bloom and Continue to Bloom." The
umbilical cord stalk that rises out of the placenta has various unique similarities with the Lotus leaf pad and
stem! The fresh Lotus stem is very strong, yet flexible, like the umbilical cord. The Lotus leaf has similar lacy
vein patterns to the fetal side of the placenta. And of course the Lotus seeds and root are a very potent,
rejuvenative medicine in the east.
A core principle of Yogic self-mastery philosophy is that "all attachment will fall away," a lesson most modern
adults spend years struggling with, but perfectly experienced in the gentle 'breaking forth' of the dried cord.
Another Yogic principle is the sacredness of the first 40 Days (six weeks) postpartum as a meditative journey
of mother-baby home seclusion with lots of domestic support. The postpartum time is generally taken more
slowly and consciously when there has been a Lotus Birth.
Q: How is a Lotus Birth actually practiced?
A; After the baby is born, the cord is not clamped and after the placenta is born, the baby and its
cord/placenta are kept intact - i.e., the cord is not cut.
In Lotus Birth, the fact that the baby's previous months contained the constant pulsing companionship of the
cord in the womb, and the protective, pulsing placenta pillow, is highly valued, along with the significantly
reduced risk of infection at the tender navel site. (Infected cord stumps are sadly an unnecessary but very
real danger for infants in unhygienic conditions).
When the placenta is born, it is kept at the same level as the baby to allow for full transfusion of nutrient rich
blood & hormones and full expansion and function of the baby's new breathing apparatus, optimized on a
deep internal level when there is no additional stress on their system. There is no rush to do anything with
the placenta - it is often just wrapped in a soft cloth near the mother during the precious first hours of bonding
(the 'Primal-adaptive" period as named by Michel Odent M.D.) after the completed birth.
Then, at some point the placenta is placed in a special bowl or wrapped in a ceremonial cloth (it is helpful to
rinse it first, and remove clots). Powdered herbs such as Lavender, Goldenseal, Rosemary or Tulsi may applied
for preservation during the drying process, and re-applied daily. Sea salt is also applied generously on both
sides to aid drying and minimize scent. This small pillow and its cord are easily kept with the baby, and some
women even use the Lotus pillow as an elbow prop during nursing. Some mothers prefer to leave the
placenta in a special bowl, near them in the bed, with the sturdy, flexible cord mostly dried just a few hours
Q: Don't all cultures in the world clamp and cut the cord within minutes of birth?
A: Cultural anthropology is a realm rich with birth & postpartum traditions different from western medicine's
immediate severance rituals. For example, the modern islanders of peaceful Bali, a beautiful culture that
esteems beauty in all things, still continue the ancient practice of extended-delayed cord clamping-severance
(typically 2-5 hours after the birth) and have many full Lotus Births at home and in birth centers.
In fact, the Balinese believe we are each accompanied at birth by four invisible brothers – represented by the
placenta, the umbilical cord, the amniotic fluid, and the yellow, waxy substance that coats an unborn baby’s
skin. They believe these guardians come into the world with us, and protect us throughout our lives. The child
is taught from earliest consciousness that she has these four brothers with her in the world wherever she
goes, and that they will always look after her. The brothers inhabit the four virtues a person needs in order to
be safe and happy in life: intelligence, strength, friendship, and poetry. The brothers can be called upon in
any critical situation for rescue and assistance, by knowing who they are, and cultivating a mindful connection
to them as you live your day. And when you die, your four spirit brothers collect your soul for travel. Several
hours after the baby is born, the parents collect as much of these materials as possible, placing them in a
coconut shell and burying it by the front door of the family’s house. (from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert,
2006, pp 251-252)
According to the Balinese, this is the holy resting place of the four brothers, and that spot is tended forever,
like a shrine. Other items are placed with the placenta - items that are believed to affect the child's future so
much thought is put into choosing them. They may include red silk to symbolize bravery, yellow flowers such as
jasmine and hibiscus to represent luck, a pencil for intelligence, perfume for keeping a person smelling nice,
and different currencies for prosperity. The placenta is thought to be the twin of the child so items of the
baby's clothing may also be included to "dress" the placenta. A few drops of the mother's breastmilk may also
be placed on the placenta. The container is then wrapped and buried by the father beside the front door of
their home - to the right for a boy and the left for a girl. If the family ever move, the placenta is dug up and
buried at their new house.
To read more about Balinese Lotus births at the Bumi Sehat Yayasan birth centers and Midwifery Director Robin
Lim's award-winning protocols that create fantastic outcomes for at-risk women, click here
Yoga families often keep the dried silk-wrapped cord and Lotus-pillow in the vicinity of the home the first six
weeks before burying it, being aware of the subtle impact of gratitude & honor the first 40 Days (the placenta
was called "grandmother" in many native tribes). In fact, in Chinese Medicine culture, the placenta is
eventually dried, powdered, and encapsulated - to be taken by the recovering mother, as it has potent
hormones which are now known by even by western science to be beneficial and specific to that particular
Q: I've seen cats and horses give birth freely and they just eat their placentas like all mammals. Isn't it
unnatural for a human mammal to have a Lotus Birth?
A: Actually not all mammals sever the cord and eat or bury the placenta! In fact, the mammals considered to
be of the highest animal intelligence, the primate chimpanzees (who are also monogamous and socially
supportive of each other), when in their native wild habitat, generally do not sever the cord, as reported by
primatologists in the 1970s. The same goes for many different kinds of monkeys. The new mothers sit with
the baby-placenta in their arms when they slowly move around a little in their retreat spot in the first day or
two after the birth, and when the cord then detaches, the cord & placenta are left on the earth and become
meat for the forest floor, and the new family swings from the trees!
Q: Why would a healthcare provider find Lotus Birth or delayed non-severance appealing?
A: The benefits of this practice are not explored in western medical school, lost in the usual divide between
Obstetrics and Pediatrics, and the value system of disposable medicine. This, although the foundational
Hippocratic Oath "First, Do No Harm," is introduced in pre-med and taken as a vow upon medical licensure. All
physicians in North America and the E.U. are only trained to actively manage third stage, and it is often
through client requests that they begin to practice more passively. Some physicians, such as Christiane
Northrup MD and Sarah Buckley MD, upon having had their own natural birth and bonding experiences, have
had their intuitions confirmed and their obstetrical understanding transformed, and written wonderful
educational books on women's health wisdom.
Though more medical midwives are practicing "extended-delayed cord severance", and more doulas are
seeking to facilitate gentler birth practices, questioning the very practice of severance itself is new for them
as well. However, non-severance, once witnessed in an informed, beautiful postpartum scenario, provokes
further inquiry, and can inspire paradigm shifts in care provider skills set. As Gloria LeMay has pointed out,
Non-severance causes care providers to slow down and honor the sanctity of the family unity, rather than
divert the group energy into separation rituals.
Q: How does Non-severance protect newborn health?
A: It ensures that an average of 100mL of precious red blood cells will transfer gently to the baby at its most
critical time of need, to contribute towards the amazing exponential brain development of the first year, and
not be disposed of or harvested due to adult well-intentioned mistrust of the infant's physiological integrity.
Emotional health of the newborn and family is facilitated by focusing on the phenomenal baby as a whole, with
no attention diverted away through adult traditions of separation. Rather than focus on cutting the cord,
fathers are able to support an uninterrupted, quality bonding with the child who is still transitioning from 9
months of gestation and gain trust in the organic rhythms of their child. For full nonseverance families, the
early days postpartum are spent simply resting and grounding, as the mother & father and Lotus babe
experience the fullness of relationship, secluded and secure at home, in fact rarely leaving the bedroom.
Cord severance is a primarily a cosmetic surgery to suit adult convenience out of habit and often ignorance,
and is rarely medically necessary (exceptions being placenta accreta or a significantly compromised mother or
baby). Though this ritual has been handed over to fathers or birth partners to carry out amidst much hoopla,
it is still an unconscious ritual that disrupts the primal family bonding focus and the unity principle of natural
design. Even babies born via cesarean, or babies who may have special needs, can be cared for with the cord
& placenta intact for an extended time in many instances, provided that parents find an open-minded OB &
Neonatalogist who is willing to explore nonseverance protocols. Non-severance can support the adaptation of
cesarean babies, as well as further infant massage.
Our babies basically have Stone Age needs for undisturbed bonding the first hour or more after birth. From a
Pre & Perinatal Psychology perspective, early cord severance is not something we are hardwired to cope with,
and indeed, early cord severance elevates infant adrenaline levels. Early cord severance was prehistorically
something probably only practiced in dire circumstances of maternal death! Virtually all undrugged babies cry
out when their cords are cut in the early postpartum time.
For over 5000 years, the science of Ayurveda has worked within a framework of anatomy & physiology that
addresses not only the physical and mental body, but also the energetic, emotional bodies that are in
biodynamic relationship with all life. (Kundalini Yoga further names this as 10 Bodies - these are the soul body,
physical body, positive mind, negative mind, neutral mind, halo/integrity imprint, aura projection, pranic body,
subtle body, and radiant/nonlocal body). Quantum physics is slowly influencing a new physics of modern
western medicine, wherein the 'quantum body' i.e, the inherent wisdom and peace of the mind-body
connection is of foundational importance.
Q: What is the sacredness associated with Lotus Birth?
A: The word 'sacred' comes from the Latin 'sacrare' - to regard with reverence, to secure against violation, to
be entitled to respect by association with divine things, holy. There are many correlations between Lotuses
and Sacred Birth in the mythology, poetry, language, and art of Asia. In Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, the name
"Lotus-Birth" was what described spiritual teachers such as Guatama-Buddha and Padmasambhava (Lien-hua
Sen), emphasizing their entering the world as a divine child.
Throughout the world, non-severance of the cord has been practiced by various peoples in various situations,
and it could easily have been the way the Christ child was welcomed: why interfere with a radiant mother &
child? Why introduce possible risk of infection at the navel site? Why even think of separation rituals when
the recovering mother and her nursling just need to bond and rest the first few days after the birth In the
Judeo-Christian tradition, there is a reference to non-cutting of the navel in the book of the prophet Ezekiel,
who was quite a prophet.
People from all walks of life choose Lotus Birth, and it especially makes sense to those who value preventative
medicine, optimal child development, and sustainable ecology. Well-known women who have chosen Lotus
Birth for their own children include Dr. Sarah Buckley (Mothering magazine advisor, family practice physician,
and author) andJeannine Parvati (midwife with a graduate degree in psychology, author of Prenatal Yoga &
Natural Childbirth and Hygieia: A Woman's Herbal).
Q: What is the current obstetrical & paramedic practice for late 2nd stage labor (baby's emergence
through the birth passage) and 3rd stage labor (birth of the placenta - often within 30 minutes after the
A: World Health Organization protocols and all modern global obstetricians, nurse-midwives, and medics are
taught "active management" of this phase of birth, even in drug-free, totally natural, healthy births that have
had no previous medical interference. This protocol, which began when medicated hospital births became the
norm in the 1950s, is to inject oxytoxic drugs (such as methergine) in the mother's thigh soon after the head is
born (to increase contractions), then clamp the cord within 1-5 minutes of the baby's birth if not immediately,
and then pull out the placenta by tugging on the cord rather than passively support the healthy mother-baby
innate and spontaneous process of "Third Stage" labor.
The "active management" of this part of labor actually increases stress rather than reduces it (all non-drugged
babies cry when the cord is severed, even in more passively managed midwifery births) and physiologically
compromises the baby in a very sensitive time of transition of the "primal-adaptive" period along with
introducing further risk of uterine prolapse or retained placenta in the mother.
Q: What does the wrapped Lotus Birth placenta and cord look like after the Lotus Birth has been
A: The placenta is a hearty(1-2 pounds right after birth), complex, and dense cake which wraps up into a small
packet about 7 x 7 - the size of a lotus leaf! Some mothers prepare special cloth for their Lotus Birth,
choosing something that has special meaning to them, like a remnant from a favorite garment, an altar cloth, a
family heirloom baby blanket, or even a husband's soft flannel shirt! Some people make part of a baby shower
or blessing ceremony about decorating and blessing the Lotus cloth. Others may just use a handy cloth diaper
or cotton pillowcase. Wrapping the placenta can be done however you like, knotting or pinning the cloth. Well-
informed parents can intuitively manage to do this themselves, or their experienced doula or midwife can help.
The post-birth cord is a slippery, silvery ribbon, 2-3 feet long. It can be wrapped, or not. What works well for
wrapping the cord is lightweight silk or satin ribbon (pre-washed before use). The cover ribbon is secured to
the Lotus cloth by incorporating it under the heavy placenta before wrapping, or by attaching it outside the
packet by knotting it onto the Lotus wrap. Near the navel, the ribbon is simply finished with an easy wrap
knot done by the mother.
The wrapped placenta and cord look like a little pillow with a decorative string to the baby. In the two days
after the birth, the wrapped cord can conveniently be slung up over the baby's shoulder, where newborns are
used to it being, and will gracefully wrap their little arms around it as they did in the womb.
Visit a joyful Lotus birth photo gallery here
Q: What does the placenta look like at birth?
A: There's nothing else like it. You may have the false impression that it looks like a smooth slab of liver, but
it's quite different. It's extremely complex - so much so that native people believed it explained the Tree of Life
principle of the whole world. Indeed, the way the umbilical cord rises out of the roots of arteries and veins on
one side, like a tree trunk, is quite remarkable. Plus, each baby's placenta has a distinct calibration of
hormones and proteins that is perfectly suited to that particular mother-baby's needs.
The various veils of clear membranes lend it an other-worldly beauty. To see a few photos of a gentle lotus
birth, baby-placenta, the little embryonic flower placenta, and the full term placenta click here. To see the
amazing placenta as captured by award-winning photographer Patti Ramos click here.
Q: What if a baby's cord is considered "short" during a natural birth? What happens while waiting for the
placenta to be born, during the important time of keeping baby at the breast?
A: All mothers during the Third Stage of labor should be reminded by their partner or care providers to
continue focusing on completing the birth of the placenta - and in a way, a "short" cord enhances that focus!
It is not necessary for the baby to actually be on the nipple in the first 30 minutes after birth - mothers can
hold their babies skin-to-skin lower on the bare bosom or belly, stroking them and talking to them while
focusing with the contractions that birth the placenta.
The key practices are "skin-to-skin" touching and physiological orchestration (well-documented in recent
medical journals) and maternal "focus" on the placenta to facilitate passive Third Stage. Though many
midwives are facilitators of the ancient practice of "skin-to-skin" mother-baby contact, just as many are not,
and may have been trained to swaddle the baby in cloth. This is an informed-choice issue for parents, and
important to discuss in detail with your care provider before the birth.
Nipple stimulation to induce Third Stage contractions can be an additional support with a baby at the breast,
however, perinatal professionals who are experienced with drug-free babies know that they often do not fully
latch-on or suckle for at least 10-15 minutes or longer after being born, as they go through their own post-
birth adaptation and are still "landing." In such a case, if nipple stimulation to reduce bleeding is desired, a
woman's partner or caregiver can do it manually, while the mother focuses on touching her baby and
experiencing the birth of the placenta.
Q: Can I bathe my baby with the cord and placenta still attached?
A: Yes. Bathe your baby as you normally would, simply keep the placenta nearby. It is best to have
somebody hold the placenta as you bathe your baby. It's okay if the cord gets wet, it can be patted dry and
will thoroughly be dry again soon. Parents who give birth in a hospital may actually prefer that their baby NOT
be taken away to be bathed by strangers in the nursery. Many babies do not even need to be bathed the
first week of life, especially if they are born in water - however, therapeutic warm water bathing (Le Boyer
style) can be a healing practice for babies who have experienced any birth stress or shock.
Q: Leaving the cord intact means that cord blood banking is not an option, isn't that irresponsible in this
day and age, for those who can afford this expense?
A: At first glance, the notion of saving some cord blood after delaying cord severance sounds smart, and
technologically astute - appealing to those who are planning a scheduled cesarean as well as parents who
wish to delay any medical intervention as long as possible. However, further investigation reveals much for
discerning parents-to-be to be concerned about. 'Banking' cord blood involves immediate, very early cord
clamping to take a significant amount of blood (100mL on average) from the newborn who is greatly in need of
it at that exact time.
Cord blood banks receive from 80 ml to 180 ml of blood on the average amount of blood taken for CBC
harvesting. The blood bank interests do acknowledge more blood is received if the cord is clamped "quickly",
meaning in 30-seconds, or less. Early cord clamping protocols are part of the ACOG's 'active management'
practices of anesthetized delivery popularized in the 1950s and continuing to dictate medical training today.
These practices are heavily criticized by many maternal & child health reformers, including physician-authors
such as Christiane Northrup MD, Michel Odent MD and Sarah Buckley MD, as well as the Boston Women's
Health Collective. Neonatal physiology is innately magnificent: is not uncommon for a drugged baby's cord to
pulsate, if given the chance, up to 20 minutes or a child recovering from a compressed cord to pulsate that
long. In the very least, a normal pulsation can be 5 minutes and longer if in a warm waterbirth tub.
The amount of blood deprived the newborn child by early cord clamping can be understood by the fact that a 9-
pound baby only creates 10 ounces of blood (300 ml). Therefore 180 ml is actually more than half this
baby's blood supply and taking half of one's blood supply will weaken any child, or any adult that loses
blood. And child advocates point out that the neonate has a right to their own blood when they most need
it: in the vulnerable hours and days of the first 4-6 weeks of neonatal life, from which we measure infant
mortality. Many well-intentioned parents-to-be, misled by aggressive banking business marketing, do not
realize that the blood 'harvesting' creates an extreme systemic deprivation for their little one, as well as the
shock and trauma that goes with it - because at birth, a child is considered anemic if deprived of even 20 to 50
percent of blood, and only 20 percent blood loss can cause shock. The U.N places the United States as 29th
best in infant mortality, with 28 other nations that do better. Anemia is the reason our babies are so sickly,
this can last until they are school age, which can result in developmental delays. Other disorders assocated
with low blood volume are autism, cancers, brain tumors, leukemias, liver, kidney, holes in the heart, hormone
deficiencies, imbalance of enzymes...all are associated with blood deprivation at the child's birth.
Cord blood banking is a new NASDAQ business niche, aggressively marketing to parents, healthcare
prooviders, and hospitals. The cord blood banking business relies on savvy, if not insidious PR strategies
which prey upon our shared social value to protect a newborn's longterm health. This PR includes dramatic ad
placements in online pregnancy magazines, fake 'articles' which cut and paste their ad verbage with cord
cutting options information (to project the illusion that cord blood harvesting is a healthy part of the care
spectrum ), plaintive Google banner ads on senior citizen (i.e., grandparents) online directories, and brochure
placement deals for OB/GYN practices to entice naive parents-to-be to trust the cord blood bank business for
their child's wellbeing. Parents are often told "the cord blood is going to be discarded anyway by the hospital,
so why not store it for possible needs of the child. " However parents are not informed that no clamping or
cutting the cord is necessary at all.
Costly on a physical, financial, and ecological level, and profitable to private companies, it is pertinent to ask "If
the cord blood is so valuable, what does it mean for the newborn child to be deprived of it?"
Q: Can babies delivered by Cesarean have a Lotus Birth?
A: Yes - simply keep the placenta with the baby. There are examples of successful Lotus Births with Cesarean
Read a Cesarean Lotus Birth story here
Q: Can premature babies have a Lotus Birth?
A: Yes - they benefit greatly from keeping their placentas, along with in-arms/sling-wearing care (Kangaroo
Care). All women benefit from awareness of these options as basic childbirth education, preferably early in
pregnancy or before conception.
Q: How can I prepare for Non-Severance in a planned or unexpected hospital birth?
A: You have the legal right to make informed choices at all junctures, politely refusing non-urgent institutional
protocols that are against your beliefs by signing papers that document that choice. Citing "religious reasons"
is often a very helpful way to garner attention and even compassion from staff without getting into protocol
debates. Umbilical non-severance is something to discuss beforehand with your care providers. It is also
important that you clearly state your wishes on any "Birth Intentions" paperwork.
Q: What happens if my baby's cord is around their neck at birth?
A: As the average cord is 2-3 feet long, it is quite normal for it to be loosely wrapped around the neck, once or
twice - in at least third of babies! In the vast majority of healthy women this is not a problem. The 'give' in
the loose cord is guarded by the attendant or the slippery cord is deftly flicked out and over the baby's head
by the attendant's quick hand, and sometimes mothers do this themselves in freebirth scenarios. (In
distressed/dissociated mother-babies or in other cases of medicated labor/immobility pathology, the cord may
be tight and compressed by shoulder dystocia requiring quick hand maneuvers on the part of the attendant
and perinatal cord clamping and cutting before the baby's body is fully born. However, this is not the case in
well-prepared mothers who have emotionally supported births).
Q: What is the typical hospital management of the placenta?
A: Even after a drug-free labor & birth, which are relatively rare (only about 10% of normal maternity
admissions), obstetrical practice is often "active management" of the Third Stage of labor to some degree. It
is practically unheard of for hospital contractors to practice full "passive management" of Third Stage - they are
simply intent on speeding along things in order to administer healthy mother-baby exams which they assume
must be done with the mother and baby separated.
Patients have the right to request, in healthy scenarios, "passive management" of Third Stage and no cord
clamping and no cutting - (For Sarah Buckley MD's current research paper on the benefits of passive stage
management and informed parental choices, click here) - and the important and necessary placental exam
done by the mother-baby, bedside. As staff are organized by those who are responsible for the mother
(obstetrical), and those who are responsible for the baby (neonatal pediatric), it can be a huge professional
challenge for them to deal with an intact mother-baby unit, as they have not been trained to do so. The
baby's parents naturally maintain more innate authority and unity, which may be upsetting to some
professionals who are accustomed to maintaining full authority over one or the other of the mother-baby.
As many hospitals are now routinely injecting the severed placenta with formaldehyde and placing it in an
unsightly biohazard bag, for patients who want to take them home, it is important to educate staff on your
choices and preferably have a doula with you who can help facilitate your Lotus Birth practices
implementation. Many hospitals are not routinely allowing placentas to be taken home, because of
environmental concerns related to the unnecessary formaldehyde injection! Inform yourself, and preferably
sign your informed choice forms for Lotus Birth and natural placenta before the actual birth.
Should there be any (extremely rare) conditions like neonatal congenital problems or maternal complications
that necessitate cord cutting for unexpected separation of the mother and baby, the placenta, in its natural
state, still belongs to the birthing family.
Q: What do American hospitals do with all the placentas that currently are unwanted by most birthing
A: Unfortunately, the amazing placenta when unwanted is considered "medical waste" and one of two things
typically happens: it is put in a biohazardous waste container to be incinerated, or, it is sold, as hospital
property, to various research or formulations labs where it lives on in various forms that profit medical
research labs, hospitals, and the beauty industry. Yes, and rather horrifyingly, human placenta is an
ingredient in several products currently for sale at beauty supply stores and from independent companies -
with profits not even going to the true owners of the placenta, the mother-baby.
As for birth center and homebirth medical midwifery practice, very few are really familiar with Lotus Birth,
though many are open to facilitating it. They generally already practice passive management of third stage
labor, and the practice of Lotus Birth simply asks them to be passive facilitators of third & fourth (early
bonding) stages of labor and assist their clients in this non-violent practice of intimate family attunement. The
important and essential placental examination is simply completed by the side of the mother-baby rather than
away from them or in another room.
For more on Lotus Birth and Conscious Parenting, many go to the "Articles Library" page.
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about Neonatal Umbilical Integrity (Lotus Birth): A Resource
|Peaceful & glowing Mama-Baby 4 hours after birth, Lotus Birth style
You can see the herbal powder coated placenta drying in a bamboo strainer
placed in a bowl, the cord attached to the nursing baby.
|Day 3 postpartum, unwrapped dried sinew cord,
Sarasota, Florida, USA 2007
|Moments with the amazing intact newborn,
Short Lotus Birth at clinical birth center, Austin, 2007
|Just minutes after lotus birth on land, the new family opts to enjoy the warm water birthing
pool, with placenta in a beautiiful glass bowl, held by father. This 42 year old mother
conceived naturally and had a straightforward homebirth of her first child. Austin 2005
|The amazing placenta & the many roots
of the umbilical cord - 3 hours after the birth.
Rinsed in warm water at bathroom sink, by assistant.
5 minutes at sink, then back to the babymoon bed!
|Lotus birth primal integrity.
|Argentinian mother, Mozambique father,
international birth team, Bumi Sehat, Bali.
2 hours postpartum, lotus birth
|Very aware lotus baby with Poppa, 2 hours postpartum,
flowers adorning placenta in bowl (routine protocol).
Bumi Sehat, Bali
|Lotus baby Isaiah, in sync with his cord in a way common to lotus
babies. Just before natural detachment, day 3 postpartum.
|Lotus Birth mother & child, six weeks postpartum,
Bumi Sehat Bali.
|Deeply relaxed Lotus Baby next to its mother on the bed,
Bumi Sehat Bali, July 2013.
Flowers are traditionally used to adorn the newborn child