Intact cord and placenta on Day 4 of life.

Intact cord and placenta on Day 4 of life.

LOTUS BIRTH: Birth with an intact umbilical cord.

Baby and placenta are kept together until the cord falls off naturally.

Lotus birth is another grass roots movement.  Woman to woman the word is passed. . . it makes sense and a heartstring is touched. . . .the father is enlisted for support and, one family after another, declines the use of scissors at birth.  This movement causes the knowledgeable professionals to stop and then flounder for answers.  As the things they hold to be sacred are questioned and thrown out, everything they know to be true is also called into question.  This is a good thing and enriches those who can admit that things are not always as they seem.

When your clients are planning a lotus birth, think ahead to what some of the pitfalls might be.

1. The relatives might be upset.  Many couples who plan lotus birth see the days with the placenta (usually 4 to 6 days) as private family time and make a rule that they will not have guests until the placenta is separated.  This relieves the new mother of performance anxiety as she gets to know her new baby.  It gives the baby a quiet transition period to intensively bond with his/her parents. One couple I know did not let anyone know their baby had been born until the placenta had separated naturally.

2.What if it smells terrible? Ground rosemary sprinkled all over the surfaces gives the placenta a pleasant smell like turkey stuffing.  Some women put lavender and rosemary essential oil on the placenta first to prevent smell.  Some put salt on both sides.  There will be a smell.  It is not terrible.  A cake rack  or a Chinese wooden steamer can be helpful to place the placenta on to allow air to circulate.  Blue Chux (incontinent) pads are helpful to prevent bedclothes from being stained with blood. The placenta is organ meat that is fresher than any meat you have ever purchased.  It will naturally begin to smell after a few days of being in the air.

3.What if I decide not to do it once I’ve started? Not a problem.  The cord can be cut at any time and usually is atrophied (dried and shrunk) enough that it needs no clamp after 24 hours.  It is common for new parents to go through periods where they think Lotus birth is just too much trouble.  Often the mother wants to give up and cut the cord and the father will talk her into persisting a while longer; then, the father can be fed up and the mother will encourage him to keep going. It becomes a quiet meditation to wait vigilantly for the cord to fall and in our fast-moving society it is a real contest to slow down for the baby.   Parents report that the days spent with the placenta attached taught them a great deal about cooperative parenting and patience.

4. What are the annoying aspects of Lotus birth?  It can seem like a nuisance to have to move the placenta every time you move the baby.  Having a piece of raw meat in your family bed is a little peculiar, too, and can be messy.  Once the cord dries after 24 hours, it has the consistency of rawhide which makes it seem like your baby has a wire coat hanger protruding from his/her belly.  None of these problems is insurmountable if the parents can be relaxed, stay close to bed and view Lotus Birth as a rites of passage.

5. How do I do this with a 3 year old jumping around on the bed? This is actually one of the biggest challenges and is a reason that Lotus Birth most often happens with first births. Protecting the newborn from the exuberance of a 3 year old is not easy at the best of times.  Prior to the birth, the parents should put some thought into creating a “nest” for the new baby and mom for the Lotus time.  The father and older child can build a “play space” of some kind with new library books and music for nap times.  Enlisting friends and family to take the older child for some active outdoor fun each day will also help the new parents maintain the sanctity of the Lotus time for the baby.

The role of the Attendant in a Lotus birth

Educating your clients about the possibility of a Lotus birth is easily done with a handout.  For many families, Lotus birth is not a preference but knowing that there is no problem leaving the cord intact indefinitely reassures them that it’s all right to slow down the cutting of the cord after the birth. When physicians justify early clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord with erroneous statements like “the baby may become jaundiced”, the parents can point to Lotus birth as proof that patience with cord clamping is perfectly healthy.

If your clients decide to have a Lotus birth, your encouragement and support can mean a lot to them. Talking through the logistics prior to the birth and making a plan for what equipment will be needed is helpful.  Remind the mother to keep the house warm so that she can be naked (except for panties/pad) and the baby can just wear a diaper.  Lots of skin-to-skin contact in the first few days of life gets the breastfeeding relationship off to a good start.  A supportive attendant can remind parents that the Lotus process has its highs and lows and that many people find deep meaning in giving this patient beginning to their child.

Caroline and Paul’s Lotus Birth


Caroline is the daughter of a family physician and Paul works in the film industry.  They were planning a home water birth for their first baby and had heard about Lotus Birth and wanted to give it a try.  The birth process was long but Caroline coped well and gave birth around suppertime in the water.  Paul was so captivated with the birth that he did a poor job of filming it!  The midwives helped the family to take lots of photos of parents and baby and placenta all resting in bed together.  It was a glorious feeling for everyone —a birth that flowed easily and needed no scissors, clamps or cutting of any kind.


When the midwife returned to the home the next afternoon, the bloom was off the rose.  The father looked rather anxious and wanted to know “How much longer are we going to have to have that THING on the baby?”  The mother and baby were sleeping peacefully together so the midwife had some time to spend talking to the father as they cleared up dishes in the kitchen.  She let the father know that his impatience to have things “tidied up” after the birth was normal.  She also pointed out that very few times in his life would be as profound as the first days of his son’s life.  She encouraged him to really listen to the messages that his son, his wife and the placenta might be telling him.  The father decided to relax again and let the placenta stay attached.


A few days later, he was lying beside his son on the bed and, as he watched him, he saw the cord slowly detach from the baby’s belly.  Right then, he felt a “release” from his own belly and something freed up in his core that had been blocked.  He began sobbing with joy.  When he planted the placenta under a tree in front of the house, he felt a deep sense that his transition into fatherhood had taken place, not in an instant, but in a slow leisurely process of learning and letting go.

9 thoughts on “LOTUS BIRTH

  1. Time is a great healer and knowing what I have learned about Lotus Birth I know that it can heal anything that needs healing in what can seem like a while but is really only a short space in time. The first few days of a human being’s life. Their entry into the world. We can honour ourselves more fully when we are privy to witness this profoundly breathtaking moment of detachment!

    I have had two Lotus Births with my two youngest children. i am a mother of three. With the first LB, our daughter Ophelia’s cord came off in the night and her placenta was on the floor next to the bed. With the second Lotus Baby Wilde born January this year, I was there with him and he pushed his cord out like he was passing a stool. I am so in tune with him– he is now using the potty for poo and wee and he is 8 months old!

    I am starting a campaign for bringing about awareness about the third stage of labour called The Lotus Birth Campaign. As you mention too, Lotus Birth can be used as a protection from immediate cord clamping. You may not actually wish to go the whole way with it but at least you have been able to be conscious in your decision about when to help your baby let go, instead of it being taken out of your hands.

    I will be launching the campaign through Our Future Planet (SOON) a new Global Networking Website for change! http://www.ourfutureplanet.org/

    for now, you can find me on FB and Myspace and I have video/slideshows of my babies’ Lotus Birth experiences on YouTube under the channel name of….. yep, you guessed it, LotusBirth (all one word)!

    Thank you for sharing!

    Love Cher and her Lotus Family! xxx

  2. Thank you for sharing this story! I am due any day now and we have recently decided to go with a lotus birth. I knew what it was, but my husband had no idea this was even practiced! He started reading about it, and the more he read, the more excited he became about the idea. He is now convinced that there is no other way to birth, and I’m delighted to go with a lotus birth.

  3. A beautiful story indeed. I’ve only got two lotus babies…one a homebirth, and one a caesarean, and both stories were amazing. I got told about lotus birthing 3 times before I looked into it, and all three times I thought it was new age kooky to the max!, but on looking into it, I liked it more and more……. I liked how when the sperm and egg get together, half makes the baby and half makes the placenta, so the placenta is like the baby’s twin. And I liked the theory that it helped the aura form. And my love Currawong took me by surprise by suggesting we go ahead with it after listening to me through the pregnancy, as he reckoned it was a lot more peaceful way of dealing with the placenta rather than eating it…..

    But you haven’t mentioned how lotus babies are so much more alive and cheeky and full of their own selves and ideas and are so out there! My two lotus babies are the most intense, challenging, and delightful:)

    Thanks for posting this!

  4. I have had 4 children, 3 lotus births, and the speed with which the cord detaches was faster than my 1st with a normal cord clamping. Around 2 to 3 days with lotus birth versus 7 days with traditional cord clamping… Lotus birth is a very pleasant slowing down of the early days of babes entry to the world…

  5. Thought this would be a good resource for this discussion:

    “Dr. Sarah J. Buckley’s Lotus Birth Protocol”

    Protocol for Lotus Birth Created by The Lotus Birth Campaign

    * When the baby is born, leave the umbilical cord intact. If the cord is around the baby’s neck, it can almost always be lifted it over.
    * Wait for the natural delivery of the baby’s placenta. Keeping mother and baby skin to skin will enhance natural oxytocin release and prevent bleeding at this time.
    * When the placenta delivers, it can be placed into a receiving bowl beside the mother.
    * Within a few hours of birth, gently wash the placenta with warm water, removing blood and clots, and pat dry.
    * Place the placenta into a sieve or colander for 24 hours to allow drainage.
    * After this, you can wrap the placenta in absorbent material (e.g. a nappy or cloth) and put in into a specially-made placenta bag, if desired.

    * Change covering once or twice daily or more often if seepage occurs.

    * Alternatively, the placenta may be kept open and dry in a sieve, colander, or bamboo steamer (purchase from Chinese grocers).

    * Allowing air to circulate all around, at least some of the time, will help with preservation

    * You can also coat the placenta with sea salt or powdered rosemary to enhance preservation

    * The baby can be held and fed as the mother wishes, taking care to not pull on the baby’s cord attachment (baby will let you know if uncomfortable!).
    * Your baby can be clothed loosely, or just wrapped in coverings. Ongoing skin to skin contact is ideal

    * No special care of the baby’s cord attachment is necessary. Using antiseptic treatment will delay separation. If a little sticky, use a few drops of breastmilk.
    * Bathing is possible, but slightly complicated and not necessary at this time.
    * Keeping mother and baby still and in contact for the “breaking forth” days is ideal. You can observe the baby’s cord drying and loosening at the umbilicus.

    * The cord will detach between 2 and 12 days, usually between days 3 and 6.

    * It is not recommended to consume or encapsulate any amount of your baby’s lotus placenta except in the first 24* hours, and with consciousness and permission from the baby. *Some would extend to 48 hours or more, see Robin Lim’s book Placenta ~ The Forgotten Chakra as a download for £12.50, helping Bumi Sehat in Bali. http://www.placentanetwork.com/placenta/Articles/Placenta-The-Forgotten-Chakra-by-Robin-Lim.asp

  6. Thanks so very much for posting Dr. Buckley’s Protocol for our campaign work!
    If anyone would like this as a PDF with coloured photographs etc please email us. lotusbirthcampaign@gmail.com

    We are currently in Egypt with our campaign as we came to support our friend with her home lotus birth, but at 9cm she chose to go to hospital because she was tired and wasn’t prepared for the birth pains on her rectum! We were told that I could go into the delivery room with her and that they wouldn’t cut his cord for 30 minutes! But once we got to hospital they wouldn’t allow me in! They gave her a drug which knocked her out, an Episiotomy and they forced her son out, he had meconium on him so they cut his cord immediately and took him to the NICU……….she only just got to take him home yesterday and he was born on Monday the 18th. They don’t understand that meconium is not an emergency and that cutting cords immediately is!

    I have been invited to give a presentation at the hospital on Tuesday and would like to use your information on meconium from your blog!

    Thanks for your passion for mothers, babies and their families!!

    Lotus love and lifelong learning!

    Cheroona x
    The Lotus Birth Campaign

  7. Pingback: Naissance Lotus : Histoire de l’inséparable compagnon de votre bébé | Pour faire des Choix Eclairés

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