Medical professionals are warning against the growing trend for lotus births, with some even asserting that there are ‘no medical benefits’ whatsoever to the alternative birth method.
Believed to have originated in the East, where traditionally newborns are not separated from their placenta, a lotus birth is the practise of leaving the umbilical cord and placenta attached to the newborn baby, allowing it to come away naturally on its own, usually after a few days.
Lotus births have gained momentum primarily because of the belief that it helps the baby to continue absorbing prenatal nutrients, as well as enhancing the bonding experience between mother and baby.
But now some healthcare professionals are claiming the lotus births are simply a fad, and shouldn’t be taken as legitimate medical advice.
Dr. Jennifer Gunter, who works as a women’s health practitioner in the USA, maintains that there are no tangible health benefits to lotus births, and even warns of ‘substantial risk.’
‘Why anyone with an understanding of modern microbiology would promote leaving a newborn attached to dead, decomposing tissue that could be a [source of] infection is beyond me,’ she told news outlet ATTN in an email.
‘Bacteria grows very quickly in dead tissue and stagnant blood,’ she continued. ‘Historically, [the placenta] has been discarded. I think if it had benefit, that wouldn’t have become the norm.’
Champions of the method often speak of the ‘metaphysical’ or spiritual benefits of keeping your baby attached to, quite literally, their lifeblood, and there is a sizeable social media movement dedicated to extolling the virtues of minimal medical intervention at birth. You only have to search #LotusBirth on Instagram to get an idea of the growing, mostly young or first time parents, following the practise.
But despite supporters’ advice on how to keep the placenta fresh and sanitised outside of the womb (largely to do with salting and preserving the organ in essential oils, or ‘placenta bags’ to keep it contained), some doctors say that a discarded organ left outside of the body for a substantial length of time is likely to result in rotting and, consequently, infection.
Though it’s generally agreed that a newborn can benefit from staying attached to the placenta for a period of time after birth, this generally means anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds.
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