Lotus births are trending….and they’re probably a terrible idea

The World Health Organization recommends delayed umbilical cord clamping (not earlier than one minute after birth) for improved maternal and infant health outcomes. But some people are delaying this procedure for significantly longer (we’re talking days here, people). Here’s what you need to know about lotus births.

What are lotus births? Also known as umbilical nonseverance, lotus birth refers to the practice of leaving the umbilical cord unclamped after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates. This usually happens 3 to 12 days after the baby is born.

Wait, how does that even work? To do this, the parents carry the placenta (that’s still connected to the newborn baby) in a bowl or pouch. Those who’ve done it recommend coating the placenta with salt and herbs, in order to avoid any, um, odors.

Related: Childbirth over the years 

19 PHOTOS
Childbirth over the years
See Gallery
Childbirth over the years
A woman being helped to give birth, on a birth chair, by two midwives, each pulling on a cloth wrapped around the mother's belly, California, USA, circa 1840. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Albert the Great, De Animalibus, folio 145, Difficult childbirth, 15th, FranceParis, Bibliotheque Nationale. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
Bettmann
A wet nurse holds a newborn baby surrounded by the birth mother and the new siblings. (Photo by Jonathan Kirn/Corbis via Getty Images)
Lucy Baldwin (1869 - 1945, centre), the wife of former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, with a baby born by caesarean section, at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London, 7th February 1930. With her are the surgeon (left) and anaesthetist, who performed the operation. Baldwin is the founder of the Anaesthetics Appeal Fund of the National Birthday Trust Fund (N.B.T.F.), which campaigns for wider provision of analgesia in childbirth. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
July 1939: In an effort to make childbirth as painless as possible, a patient inhales analgesia during labour whilst a nurse looks over her. (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)
Soldier's Son: Pregnancy And Childbirth In Wartime, Bristol, England, 1942, Sister Gwendoline Murphy hands a screaming two-day-old Peter Winston Stacey to his mother Irene for feeding at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. The babies sleep in multiple cots in the nursery and are brought back to their mothers at feeding time, 7 September 1942. (Photo by Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer/ IWM via Getty Images)
Three pyjama-clad little boys are introduced to their newborn baby sister, Janet Lewington, by the midwife after a home delivery in Mottingham, Kent, 4th August 1946. Original Publication : Picture Post - 4201 - A Baby Is Born At Home - pub. 31st August 1946 (Photo by Merlyn Severn/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A nurse in the maternity unit of a hospital keeps an eye on the pressure from the oxygen cyclinder, as they care for a lillte baby girl. January 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
An expectant mother using an inhaler to take the pain killing drug trilene during labour, watched by a hospital midwife. 29th March 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
A nurse handing a newly born baby to its mother, 1956. Original Publication: Picture Post - 9111 - Analgesia - unpub. (Photo by Grace Robertson/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
28th May 1965: Three pregnant women relax in medical 'space-suits' in an attempt to ease childbirth and raise the intelligence of their offspring. A suction pump next to the chairs lowers pressure inside the suits, while a gauge in front of them gives a constant reading. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Felix Gaillard, His Wife And Her Daughter Isabelle In 1958. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
The newly born Letts quintuplets in their incubators at University College Hospital. Father John Letts surveys his instant family of quintuplets as they lie in their incubators at University College Hospital. December 1969 Z12130-010 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Midwife May Guthrie-Lacy photographs the 287th baby which she has delivered at Lytham Hospital. Two day old Nicola Manton and her mother 23 year old Christine will join all the others happy snaps in May Lacy's albums. December 1969 Z12345-002 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The Davis quintuplets and their parents, Jerry and Debbie Davis, pose for a family portrait, their first since the quintuplets' birth on July 18. The quintuplets' names are (left to right) Christa LeJune, Casey Clifton (the only boy), Chanda Jannae, Charla Rae Ann, and Chelsa Lynnae.
JUN 4 1977, JUN 14 1977; St. Luke's Hospital (Gen) Birthing Room.; (Photo By Ernie Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Maternity Department, Tenon Hospital In Paris, France. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
CANADA - JANUARY 08: New to the world: Mary Dininio of Stroud; Ont.; laughs with joy yesterday moments after giving birth to son Myles; as husband Michael looks on at Women's College Hospital. (Photo by Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

And why are people doing this? Advocates of lotus births claim that prolonged contact with the placenta can provide added health benefits, such as increased mother-baby bonding and higher infant immunity. Some also choose lotus births for spiritual reasons, believing it provides a gentler transition from womb to world.

And what do the experts say? While The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not have an official position on lotus births, we chatted with Dr. Sherry A. Ross, women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period, who told us that there is zero medical evidence that this practice benefits the baby and that it could actually be harmful. “Potential risks include infection to the placenta and baby, jaundice, polycythemia and a foul odor of the placenta over days associated with this practice,” she explains. “This archaic practice with unproven health benefits does not outweigh the potential dangers associated with this unusual request for a birth plan.”

Related: Trending baby names 

14 PHOTOS
Popular babies names for 2018
See Gallery
Popular babies names for 2018

AIDY

Thanks to SNL’s breakout star, this nickname for Aiden or Adele has class, sass and serious staying power.

COCO

Whether you’re channeling the classic (Chanel), the modern (Pixar’s latest blockbuster) or the Cox-Arquette, this one (a derivation of "cocoa") has good taste on lock.

GIGI

Just like its sister names Lulu, Mimi and Lula—this super-stylish mini moniker is simply irresistible.

KAI

Meaning “sea” in Hawaiian and “forgiveness” in Japanese, this unisex name was among the top 100 U.S. baby names last year and is up 11 points since 2016, according BabyCenter.

JASPER

Safer than Jagger, fresher than Jaden, the fifth most popular name of 2017, meaning “bringer of treasure,” continues to “rocket up the U.S. ranks,” according to Nameberry.

SAVANNAH

The Today host could use a hug, and possibly your child named in her honor. And since this is the 40th most popular girl’s name in the U.S., it’s both unique and uniquely recognizable.

GREY

Leave it to Molly Sims to make an eternally cool yet utterly refreshing choice.

LEVI

Conjuring classic denim and the children of both Matthew McConaughey and Sheryl Crow, the 29th most popular name of 2017 is steadily climbing the charts.

RONAN

In Celtic it means a pledge, or a promise. In 2018 it means deserving of an Oscar—and a Pulitzer.

QUINN

Of Irish origin meaning “wise,” it works for both boys and girls, as either a first or a middle name. Pretty smart indeed.

BODHI

While Patrick Swayze’s Point Break surfer will always be the original Bodhi to us, Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder made waves when they gave this increasingly popular name to their baby daughter.

KENNEDY

Attention-grabbing and presidential, experts predict it will become one of the top five most popular baby names next year—for girls.

FINN

Predicted by some to be the number one name for boys in 2018, it didn’t even crack the top 100 last year.


 

AURORA

Ever since Rachel Bilson named her daughter Briar Rose, and Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz gave their son the middle name Mowgli, Disney names have been fair game. The experts at BabyGaga predict Sleeping Beauty’s given name—already the eighth most popular of 2017—will be a sleeper hit again next year.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Bottom line: We’re all for moms-to-be feeling empowered by their birthing choices, but this seems like a weird and potentially dangerous practice that just isn’t worth the risk. (Also, yuck.) Here’s an idea for those who want to honor the placenta: Embrace the Jamaican tradition of burying it in the ground and planting a small sapling that grows along with the child instead. No placenta pouch necessary.

RELATED: Things No One Tells You About Giving Birth (According to Women Who’ve Actually Done It)

 

Read Full Story