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Birthing trend: Don't cut umbilical cord

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: April 12, 2013 - 6:43 PM

The cutting of the umbilical cord can signify an important moment. Now some mothers have begun to forego the procedure and allow it to fall off naturally in what's called a Lotus Birth.

Connecting the mother's placenta to her baby, the umbilical cord delivers nutrients and oxygen to the developing fetus. It typically takes 10 days for the placenta and the unattached umbilical cord to completely separate from a baby. The mother carries them along with the baby. 

Midwife educator and lotus birth advocate Mary Ceallaigh, 47, said the unorthodox procedure is gaining ground with parents.

"While the placenta remains attached, it's kept in a nice cloth, and the cord is wrapped in silk or cotton ribbon. Babies are left on a safe surface or with a caregiver while the mother goes to the restroom. For cuddling and nursing, the placenta pillow is kept near the mother and baby," she said.

"The mother and baby benefit from having all the focused placed on bonding, rather than the common focus of 'who's going to cut the cord, cut the bond?' Invading the natural process when there's a healthy mother and baby is likely to cause harm in some way seen or unseen."

Ceallaigh and other Lotus Birth enthusiasts claim leaving the umbilical cord attached will allow for the appropriate transfer of essential oxygen and nourishment the baby needs for development. They also say the incision left by the cord cutting procedure can lead to infection.

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