As we seem to be on the topic of placentas, I thought I would share with you the concept of the Lotus Birth in case any of you fancied it.
We all know that the standard trick post-birth is to cut the umbilical (preferably after some delay) and then deliver the placenta, either helping it along a bit using a drug which is injected into your thigh while you are giving birth (a managed third stage) or naturally (a physiological third stage) where some time up to an hour after the birth you then push out the placenta like you did the baby, sometimes with help from the midwife pulling the cord to get the placenta out. The managed approach has been shown to result in less blood loss for the mother and is what I had this time round (although I have no memory of deciding this or being pricked by a needle – must have had my mind on other things). If there’s a next time then I think I would go the physiological route, just for kicks really as I am curious what it would be like!
But if I was a true hippy then the lotus birth would be the thing to do – you see the cutting of the umbilical cord is just an unnecessary intervention, so how about you just don’t cut it – leave the placenta attached!
So how does it work? If you had it cut, then the umbilical cord stub withers, dries and falls off within four weeks – the same principle applies to a lotus birth, except it’s the whole umbilical cord and placenta that falls off and they tend to fall off faster, within 4-10 days (you can always rely on the Daily Mail for insight into non-mainstream practices).
So why not? Well aside from the faff of carrying around the placenta with you for the first few days, and the smell which will permeate as the placenta starts to decay; doctors have stated concerns of risk of infection as the tissue rots.
If you want to find out more about this birth option, then this article drew my attention to it. Although in this case the baby pulled the cord out rather than let it wither away, but I guess that still counts, and they called the baby Ulysses so really can’t be faulted!