Lotus Birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the navel, exactly as a cut cord does 3-10 days after birth.
Lotus Birth is part of the continuum in the development and unfolding of the human organism. Lotus Birth is also part of the continuum of awakening consciousness expressing itself via the birth process.
"We need to relearn what a birth can be like when it is not disturbed by the cultural milieu. We need a reference point from which we should try not to deviate too much. Lotus Birth is such a reference point." Michel Odent
Lotus Birth is a call to pay attention to the natural physiological process. It's practice, through witnessing, restores faith in the natural order. Lotus Birth extends the birth time into the sacred days that follow and enables baby, mother and father and all family members to pause, reflect and engage in nature's conduct. Lotus birth is a call to return to the rhythms of nature, to witness the natural order and to the experience of not doing, just being.
Introduction by Shivam Rachana
Having my cord cut hurt. My stomach ached and throbbed like an enormous heart. I was angry and most distressed. From our primal experiences we had come to understand how our own births influenced how we reacted and responded when attending births. Viewed through the filter of our own trauma, our interpretation of what was happening was likely to be inaccurate. We learnt to be aware of our own feelings and to be present for the mother and baby with clarity.
A three-year-old boy, neighbour of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, came to her house the morning after her baby brother was born. She ran and greeted her friend and took his hand. I watched them, expecting her to take him to see the new baby, but she took him to the bucket where the placenta lay. The two of them stood there, wordless, hand in hand; there was a deep silence as they looked and were simply 'with' the placenta. "why did they do that?" I wondered. It was obviously meaningful for them.
Time the cord was cut Time required for the navel to heal
Immediately - 9.56 days
When it had stopped pulsing - 7.16 days
Later - 3.75 days
Reported reactions of babies to having their cords cut included: gasped, shuddered, screamed, cried louder, whimpered, wringing of hands, crying. Mothers descriptions of third stage included: "unpleasant, didn't notice, awful, horrific, a non-experience, foggy, pretty dreadful, disastrous, painful, surprising, lovely, sensuous"
"These Lotus Birth babies are different
They are more whole- more like babies used to be. Today's babies are often very worried, they show signs of stress. This is concerning; that stress is increasing even in babies.
The most striking example of wellness I have seen in a lotus-born baby was a baby whose father had died during the pregnancy. When this happens one can expect that the child will manifest symptoms of distress related to the mothers emotional state. This lotus-born child was completely clear of the residual trauma that these cases usually carry. She was very calm and centred. From my observations of the babies I see in my practice I find Lotus Birth most beneficial."
Helma Bak, Dutch-born medical doctor practising anthroposophical medicine and homoeopathy in Australia.
Womb Ecology becomes World Ecology (excerpt from Lotus Birth)
Many indigenous cultures have a strong sense of being part of a continuum. Our isolated 'me' culture deprives us of this. If we reflect on how most of us were born - drugged, isolated from our mother and deprived of basic mammalian needs of access to the breast, skin-to-skin contact and holding, we might begin to understand more fully, the difficulties we have in our interpersonal relationships.
The implications of Lotus Birth are best approached through the perspective of the ancient mystery traditions, developed in places as diverse as India, China, and Egypt. Through disciplines of contemplation and meditation, these traditions have developed an understanding of the totality of a human being that is still absent from Western medical science. Generally, they articulate dimensions across which human beings live simultaneously. and how disharmony or trauma in one effects the others.
We could regard the baby and the placenta as a single unit - with the placenta an essential organ, such as the heart or liver, functioning and necessary for survival. However, we don't say, 'some of the genetic material turns into the baby and some turns into the heart or lungs', so why do we conceptually separate the placenta from the baby?
Lotus Birth establishes the baby-placenta relationship and suggests that the mother gives birth to the baby-placenta. As we shall see, there are no sustainable medical reasons for cutting the cord and separating the biological unit that conceived, grew and delivered (or birthed) together.
Lotus Birth ensures that the physical body is well cared for by ensuring that the baby receives the full quotient of the oxygen-bearing highly nutritious blood that is in the cord. The infant obtains 40 to 60 mL of 'extra' blood from the placenta if the cord is not tied until pulsations cease. The loss of 30 mL of blood to the newborn is equivalent to the loss of 600 mL to an adult. Common practice of immediate cutting of the cord before the pulsations cease deprives the newborn of a possible 60 mL of blood, the equivalent to a 1200mLhaemorrhage in an adult. This is a likely explanation of the strange phenomenon of weight loss that most newborns seem to endure. The new organism is put immediately under undue stress to reproduce the blood it was denied.
We must wonder too, whether the denial of the iron-rich cord blood is a contributing factor to the widespread cases of infant and childhood anaemia.
The immature liver is supported by the placenta in the offloading of toxins, as the pumping action continues until the cessation of pulsations. Most babies' bodies are loaded up with these, including any drugs administered during the birth, and have to begin life dealing with the unnecessary toxic waste in their immature systems.
"Lotus birth is not a majority choice, but offers some important benefits for mother and baby. Lotus birth ensures all the benefits of delayed cord clamping (DCC) for the newborn baby. DCC allows the transfer of an extra 100 ml of blood from placenta to baby: around 1/3 of total newborn blood volume. Babies who receive this blood (including lotus babies) are less likely to be anaemic in the first year of life compared to babies whose cord is cut immediately: standard practice in most hospitals. DCC also gives extra blood for heart and brain, which may be critical for some babies. Lotus birth ensures close mother-baby contact in the hours after birth, and discourages others (including medical staff) from unnecessarily removing the baby. Early skin-to-skin contact gives the newborn healthy glucose levels, less crying, more organized behaviour, more quiet sleep and better temperature regulation. Lotus birth encourages the mother to be still and quiet for the few days after birth - you certainly can't take a lotus baby shopping! Rest at this time, as practiced in most traditional cultures, gives the new mother time to recover, to establish breastfeeding and get to know her baby. (I recommend two weeks rest for any family, ideally six, and advise women to not get out of their PJs for maximum benefit!) More info www.sarahjbuckley.com/articles/leaving-well-alone.htm www.cordclamp.com." Dr Sarah Buckley
Protocol for Lotus Birth
- When the baby is born, leave the umbilical cord intact. If the cord is around the baby's neck, simply lift it over.
- Wait for the natural delivery of the placenta. Do not use oxytocin - this forces too much too soon into the infant and compromises the placenta delivery.
- When the placenta delivers, place it into a receiving bowl beside the mother.
- Wait for full transfusion of the umbilical blood into the baby before handling the placenta.
- Gently wash the placenta with warm water and pat dry.
- Place the placenta into a sieve or colander for 24hrs to allow drainage.
- Wrap the placenta in absorbent material, a nappy or cloth and put in into a placenta bag. The covering is changed daily or more often if seepage occurs. Alternatively, the placenta may be laid on a bed of sea salt (which is changed daily) and liberally covered with salt.
- The baby is held and fed as the mother wishes.
- The baby is clothed loosely.
- The baby can be bathed as usual - keep the placenta with it.
- Keep movement to a minimum.
"Dear Rachana & Daricha,
A beautiful baby daughter arrived to us in the early hours of the 10th Feb. She was water-birthed at home after a two and a half hour labour. She came with ease and grace, powerfully and definitely. She was born in the caul, and was Lotus birthed. Her placenta popped off after just 3 days. She has been very happy, strongly embodied, and very clear about communicating what she wants.
It was helpful for me to read your book Rachana during the first few days as Asha and I noticed some of our own placenta trauma being triggered, as well as in the older siblings, and even grandparents. Thankyou! We are experiencing so much joy... i love simply looking at her, being present with her". With Love, Jonathan & Asha
Lotus Birth - A Ritual for our Times - By Sarah Buckley
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