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What is a Lotus Birth?

What is a Lotus Birth?

This is the one tradition that not many parents know about. A Lotus Birth is where you allow the cord to stay attached to the baby after birth, not cutting the cord from the placenta even. This is to allow the placenta to say goodbye to the baby on its own time, and it requires patience from the parents. It would appeal to those parents who are strong believers in non-violence, since you are not harming the placenta or the umbilical cord in any way.

Most hospitals cut the cord immediately after birth, some allowing the father to do the honors. There is a strong trend now for parents to be able to have a delayed cord clamping (DCC) after giving birth. DCC is where you allow the cord to not be cut until after it finishes pulsating. This allows the baby to receive most of the blood and nutrients from the placenta back to the baby. Usually this happens after a few minutes. With the Lotus Birth, you will have the cord and placenta attached for days or over a week after giving birth. Unless induced, your baby and body usually decides when to part ways when you are pregnant. Working together, this brings on labor. By doing a Lotus Birth, this allows the baby and placenta to part ways on their own timing. Women have reported that this feels like a very peaceful way to allow your baby to finish the birthing process on their own time.

While most of the benefits that your baby can receive will happen if you DCC, some midwives feel that taking the extra steps for a Lotus Birth have other benefits. Says Robin Lim in her book, Placenta, the Forgotten Chakra, the benefits can be “mostly spiritual and cannot be measured scientifically.” (1) Some midwives are hopeful that Lotus Birth will be the next trend in our culture to “minimize the separation trauma by helping families and health-providers execute the Lotus Birth as gently as possible.” (2) Another amazing fact is that you are able to have a Lotus Birth even if you are having a c-section! You will need to just ensure that your doctor is aware of your choice and is willing to accommodate your request.

The steps to have a Lotus Birth are not that difficult. After birth, you gently wrap the placenta in a towel or place on a chux pad and place it next to mom and baby while they enjoy their first breastfeeding. Next, you wash the placenta to get all of the blood off. Once finished, you pat it dry and place spongy side up (the mommy side) onto a dry towel. Put a generous amount of salt on it, making sure to get in all of the folds of the cotyledons. Once salted, lay the placenta mommy side down in a small basket that is lined with a clean towel. Wisdom says that a basket is better than a bowl, so that the placenta can breathe and not obtain an odor. Then, add more salt to the baby side of the placenta and keep this next to the baby. It's important to change the placenta towel every few hours, since it will absorb moisture from the placenta. Some families have special dried herbs that they wish to add to the placenta, and this is fine too. If after the cord falls off you wish to make a cord keepsake, all you will need to do is soak the cord in room temperature water until it becomes soft enough for you to shape in the form you wish.

Can you do encapsulation if you do a Lotus Birth? In my professional opinion, no. It is not safe to consume a placenta that has been salted and left out, even if it has been placed in ice. This is not safe and no professional placenta specialist would ever encapsulate after a Lotus Birth. You wouldn't eat a breast of chicken a week after purchasing it and carrying it around in a bag of ice. At least, I hope you wouldn't. Not to mention the cord is not salted and so it is rotting away next to the placenta. Food safety standards dictate that this is just not safe to do.

If you would like to consume your placenta and do a Lotus Birth, you could do a modified version. This is where you would cut a small piece of it off within two hours after giving birth and before you salt it. With this piece you can make yourself a smoothie or tincture.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:


1. p. 84: Lim, Robin. Placenta, The Forgotten Chakra. Bali: Half Angel Press. 2010

2. p.88: Lim, Robin. Placenta, The Forgotten Chakra. Bali: Half Angel Press. 2010

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