Some interesting info:
In the 1970s, Clair Lotus Day - a pregnant woman living in California - became interested in the practice amongst chimpanzees of leaving the cord attached to both newborn and placenta until it simply dropped off. If it was a good idea for chimps, she reasoned, then she saw no reason why it would be harmful for humans. In 1974 she managed to find a sympathetic obstetrician and, after her son was born, she took both her baby and placenta home. Over the next few days her son apparently seemed more content which, Lotus Day reasoned, was because he felt secure in his attachment to his placenta.
Lotus Birth vs. cord cutting
There is debate about the advantages and disadvantages of a Lotus Birth. Both advantages and disadvantages are mostly subjective.
* The placenta may have a foul smell, if not treated properly.
* The infant may not be as easily passed around by relatives.
* Cord blood banking is not an option.
* In a hospital, transmission of blood-borne pathogens may be a concern.
* Indigenous cultures, such as Native American and Thai, the placenta is regarded as sacred and/or as a living organ.
* Lotus Birth appeal to cultures that advocate nonviolence. Many spiritual leaders advocate this practice as it means the child is not harmed during the first moment of its life.
* Although cord blood banking is not an option, the placenta can still pump blood into the baby and therefore although the cord cells may not be saved the baby receives them in the first moments of its life.
* Some advocates argue that because the newborn is attached to its mother for longer, the psychological state of the child is better than those babies who are taken to be weighed etc. straight after the birth, giving the child time to recover from the trauma of birth.
Also, from a "real" MD:
bullet2 Dr. Sarah Buckley's Declaration, Don't Clamp the Cord.
* Dr. Sarah Buckley, (see her Statutory Declaration below), trained in obstetrics, residing in Australia, shares her concerns of risks of accepting drugs during labor, and that there is no medical need to clamp the infant's lifeline, or cut the cord, ever, without a proven need how it is a medical benefit to the child. Dr. Sarah Buckley is putting women in control, where and with whom to birth their babies. This is quite a contrast to a review I did on the
Myles Texbook for Midwives , 11th edition 1989.
The following statement is true, to the best of my knowledge, experience, training and beliefs as
* a medical practitioner trained in General Practice (family MD) and GP-obstetrics
* a writer and researcher on pregnancy, birth and parenting, including papers on 'third stage management'
* a mother of four children, all born naturally at home
* three of these being 'lotus births', where the cord remained uncut.
I believe that the current obstetric practice of early cord clamping and cutting is misguided and causing harm to mothers and newborn babies, and this practice should be stopped, as a routine, and should only be used where the benefits outweigh the risks and with informed choice from parents.
In summary, I believe that this practice is causing, or significantly contributing to, the following harmful outcomes, which are further explained and referenced as below in my article Leaving Well Alone- A Natural Approach to Third Stage. (Buckley 2000)
(NB 'third stage', also known as 'placental stage', is the time between delivery of the baby and delivery of the placenta)
Harm to the baby
* denial of the full 'placental transfusion' to the newborn baby
* disallowing the baby to regulate their own level of placental transfusion
* sub-optimal blood volumes in most newborn babies subjected to this treatment
* for some babies, deprivation of up to half of total blood volume (54 to 160 ml out of 300 to 350 ml)
* deprivation of oxygen contained in the placental blood
* loss of 'life-line' if breathing is delayed, increasing risk of damage from lack of oxygen
* inadequate tissue and organ perfusion in the time after birth
* possible long-term organ damage, eg subtle brain injury
* increased likelihood of anaemia
* deprivation of stem cells contained in the placental/cord blood
* increased need for resuscitation
increased risk of respiratory problems, especially in vulnerable babies
Harm to the Mother :
* interference in maternal third stage physiology
* interference with third stage hormonal systems (oxytocin, endorphins), linked to bonding and to natural means of preventing haemorrhage
* Increased difficulty in delivering a bulky placenta
* Increased risk of haemorrhage
* Increased risk of retained placenta
* Increased risk of baby's blood entering mothers circulation
Increased risk of subsequent RH incompatibility
Late severance :
* All other mammals sever the cord only after the placenta is delivered, and, to my knowledge, all traditional cultures follow this practice also.
* This late severance is safe and, ensures that the baby gets an optimal (but not a standard) placental transfusion and that the mother is protected from retained placenta, post partum haemorrhage, and leakage of the baby's blood into her circulation, as above. Furthermore the conditions after birth, which are physiologically unique, are optimal for the formation of the life-long and strong attachment, or bond, between mother and baby, as mediated by hormones in both mother and baby.
* This is also the time when instinctive mothering behaviours are 'switched on' in the brains of all mammalian species, including humans, and I believe that interference at this time contributes to western cultural difficulties in accessing our motherly intuitions and instincts with our babies.
Lotus Birth :
* I also have experience, as above, with, a practice called 'lotus birth', where the cord is not cut at all, but baby and placenta remain attached until natural separation of the cord, at 3 to 9 days after birth. This practice allows the baby to get the full 'placental transfusion' that nature intends.
* See below for my article explaining this practice, and the physiological/ philosophical/ spiritual reasons behind it.(Lotus Birth- a Ritual for our Times- Buckley 2002).
* As well, I have provided a video of my newborn son Jacob, soon after birth and 3 days later with his cord and placenta still attached, and photos of my other children.
* As a mother, I have found this to be a very safe and satisfying practice.
* As a medical practitioner, I have found no risks or possible risks to the baby, with the proviso that this practice- or any long delay in clamping- may not be compatible with use of drugs and procedures. (In particular, caution must be exercised with the use of syntocinon/pitocin, which over-rides the baby's ability to self-regulate the placental transfusion, and can cause over-perfusion.)
* As a writer on birth issues, I have heard from many other parents who have practised lotus birth, and found it to be beneficial to their baby, both short and long-term, and to their relationship with their baby.
I doubt we'll go the full blown lotus birth, but I definitely want to wait to cut the cord until it has stopped pulsing.