Lotus birth leaves a newborn critically ill with a heart infection

Newborn baby in hospital

A new paper in Clinical Pediatrics, Umbilical Cord Nonseverance and Adverse Neonatal Outcomes, reports on babies harmed by the bizarre practice of lotus birth.

Lotus birth is the latest fad in the world of birth performance art.

It used to be that women got pregnant with the intention of having a baby. In 2018, among a certain segment of privileged, white natural childbirth advocates, the performance is the point. For example, freebirth, childbirth without medical assistance of any kind, is a stunt. As such, the baby is merely a prop and an expendable prop at that. According to freebirther Desirea Miller:

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Lotus birth is a bizarre practice with no medical benefit and considerable risk, particularly the risk of massive infection. [/pullquote]

A live baby is usually the goal. Not everybody has that same goal but if that’s your goal, there’s no shame in going [to the hospital] to get checked.

Lotus birth is another fringe stunt beloved of those who think bragging rights are more important than a healthy baby. It is the decision to leave the placenta attached to the baby for several days until it rots off. It’s an affectation with no medical benefit and considerable risk, particularly the risk of massive infection.

According to Lotus Fertility.com (“Serving your Inner Midwife”):

…[T]he placenta is placed in a special bowl or wrapped in a ceremonial cloth (it is helpful to rinse it first, and remove clots)… Sea salt is also applied generously on both sides to aid drying and minimize scent. This small pillow and its cord are easily kept with the baby, and some women even use the Lotus pillow as an elbow prop during nursing…

Why would anyone leave a dead chunk of meat attached to her baby?

The practice … [is] called “Lotus Birth”, connecting the esteem held in the east for the Lotus to the esteem held for the intact baby as a holy child … Ahimsa, (non-violence in action and thought within one’s self and towards others) … is from the writings and leadership by Gandhi … and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights inspired marches followed soon after. Approaching birth options with Ahimsa in mind is something that can create a tremendous liberation of creative energies, freeing the potential of birth & early parenting to be a peaceful experience for the human family at large…

In other words, lotus birth is New Age nonsense … but it is also potentially deadly to the baby. As the authors of the new scientific paper explain:

Because of the potential for decomposing placental tissue to become a nidus for infection, and in the absence of medical evidence describing a benefit of this practice, the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued a statement advising women about the lack of evidence to support UCNS as a safe procedure. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not recommend UCNS. One existing case report has linked UCNS with persistent neonatal hepatitis. Another has linked UCNS to a case of Staphylococcus epidermidis neonatal sepsis.

The authors describe a baby rendered critically ill by a heart infection apparently contracted from the decomposing placenta:

A 20-hour-old male infant with UCNS was brought to the emergency department by his parents for labored breathing. The parents reported that the infant was born at home via water birth with spontaneous, prolonged rupture of membranes (>18 hours). No resuscitation was required at birth…

He was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) due to concern for sepsis. Ampicillin and gentamicin were started empirically. At 30 hours after admission, the blood culture was positive for coagulase-negative Staphylococcus; the umbilical cord was then cut, and central lines were placed for continued antibiotic therapy… The second blood culture grew Staphylococcus lugdunensis

The infection was so serious that the bacteria was growing in the baby’s blood. S. lugdunensis is a common skin bacteria that can gain access to the baby’s bloodstream through a skin infection (which this baby did not have) … or through direct communication of a rotting placenta with a baby’s circulation.

Even more ominous:

An echocardiogram (ECG) was ordered on hospital day 4 because of the association of S lugdunensis with endocarditis. The ECG revealed tricuspid valve leaflet thickening and presence of a vegetation [colony of bacteria] …

It took 6 weeks of hospitalization for IV antibiotics to cure the heart infection. Fortunately the baby appears to have escaped permanent damage to his heart valve and the associated disability.

In trying to recapitulate birth in nature, the mother had a homebirth. This “natural” birth led to the baby experiencing nearly every possible serious medical intervention in a 6 week hospital stay.

As the authors of the paper note:

Ironically, families seeking a more natural birth option may end up getting a more invasive experience than a family choosing standard delivery and newborn care.

The ultimate irony is that there is nothing natural about lotus birth. There are no primates, nor human cultures in which the placenta is left attached to a newborn. Lotus birth is a thoroughly modern affectation, one with potentially deadly consequences.

  • anonomyssy

    Whoa…hold on there, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water…so to speak. I am with you, a rotting organ should not be attached to an infant after the cord blood has stopped pulsing into that newborn’s body.

    BUT I’ve home birthed with midwives and a doctor and its a far superior experience IF all your ducks are in a row. Why?

    1. Home birthers have more thorough prenatal care…they cover everything from what foods you are eating, what is your stress level, etc. They know they won’t be relying on medical back up, so prevention is worth a pound of cure. Years before natural health, nutrition and stress levels were recognized by mainstream medical, natural birthers were aware and practicing to help the body strengthen and stretch, mindfulness to deal with pain, massage techniques for labor, etc. etc. Mainstream is finally catching up.

    2. You have a whole team to yourself. I had a doctor and midwife with one birth, and 3 midwives with another. At the hospital I was alone with my then husband, being monitored by machines, not people. We saw the nurse from time to time, but the staff had a bunch of laboring mothers to care for…at home I had a whole team to myself, who sat with me, and were attentive and aware of changes, etc. Way more thorough care. They would have caught an issue faster than the hospital staff.

    3. Most home birthers are responsible and mindful. The Chicago physician I home birthed with had a criteria that had to be met to deliver at home, if you strayed from the criteria, we met at the hospital-no ifs, ands or buts. The midwives I birthed with had me call local paramedics and inform them of the birth (in case they were needed…NO diminishing of their value or skills, as others in this post have suggested), and also to have a back-up plan for a hospital arrival if necessary. They didn’t mess around. My baby was face up, 4th child, hardest delivery, but my midwife was super skilled and got us through it. (I would have surely been a C-section at a hospital).

    4. Midwives cleaned up the house, and instead of having to drag my sore, tired body and new baby out for well visits, the midwives came to my house and did follow up checkups. Godsend. Not to mention I didn’t have to bring a baby to a waiting room with exposure to potentially sick kids.

    The thing that strikes me here is the attitude that if its not done YOUR way, everyone else is an idiot, and thats just not true. For a healthy mom, with a normal pregnancy, with access to medical care if needed, there is no reason to be at a hospital if you don’t want to. The attitude that if you’re not doing it may way you’re an idiot is why many of us avoid doctors like the plague. You’re judgmental and on a high horse…and babies have been born since the beginning of time. If your ducks are in a row, you’re job is to guide, not run interference. (yes I know your view is tainted because often you see the worst case scenarios, rather than the majority of positive outcomes).

    NO, I didn’t keep the placenta…although I’ve heard of folks having it made into capsules with good results.

    • Who?

      5. IF no one dies or is permanently injured for the lack of resuscitation equipment or a surgical team in the living room.

      The ‘worst case scenario’ that ‘taints’ people’s view is the death or permanent injury of the volunteer in this little freedom ride-the baby.

    • swbarnes2

      1) “Going over” lots of stuff doesn’t matter if the stuff being gone over is meaningless, and important tests, like glucose, blood pressure, RH factor, staph B, are being ignored.

      If you are arguing that detailing the Brewer’s Diet is a replacement for actual medical tests, you are cracked.

      2) So you are arguing the same kind of midwives who are too stupid to know if a baby is breech will catch decels with a stethoscope?

      3) I don’t think that merely informing the paramedics prompts them to do anything. They come when you call, if they can, or they stay at home if the midwives convinces you not to call them. And if homebirthing is so safe, why inform them?

      4) If something traumatic happens at the hospital, you walk away from the room and never come back. If something traumatic happens at home, the midwives can’t wash that out.

      For a healthy mom, with a normal pregnancy, with access to medical care if needed, there is no reason to be at a hospital if you don’t want to.

      Being at home means that some women and babies will not have access to medical care when needed. Because it’s too far away.

    • Amazed

      We don’t hold the baby out with the bath water. That would be you and the stuff you’re repeating… we’ve seen it put it out here proudly more than once. It’s nonsense. Each one of it. swbarnes2 has been thorough in her reply. But you won’t get it. Ypu got the gist of this site wrong, after all. The thing that strikes you here is an invention of yours. You seem so sure that YOU know the truth. No, we aren’t telling people they’re idiots for not doing it OUR way. We’re telling them that if they choose homebirth, they should be aware that there is an additional risk and it’s HUGE. It’s this very concept that you’re arguing with.

      So you had a physician at your birth. (Or as a backup?) Colour me unimpressed. An OB or not? Anyway, there are enough obstetricians who support homebirth. Some of them, we’re reading about in the news and the article you posted under a little down the thread. The woman who killed one of the babies in said article was an OB. A very naturally minded one.

    • rational thinker

      “BUT I’ve home birthed with midwives and a doctor and its a far superior experience IF all your ducks are in a row.” When are you people going to get it through your heads it is not about YOUR EXPIRIENCE its about getting the baby out safe. If the experience is more important to you maybe you shouldn’t be having any more babies. Having the paramedics on stand by is one of the most selfish things I have heard from home birthers. Maybe you will need to see a few dead babies that died preventable deaths before you realize what is wrong with your beliefs. Also I am willing to bet any amount of money that the ambulance on stand by was more for you than the baby, and a low risk birth can turn into a high risk birth in a matter of seconds.

      • Who?

        To be fair it is often about the experience, with the baby as a kind of permanent reminder about what a mama mum was.

        Eyeroll.

        And yes why you would want an ambulance to save yourself when your choices had killed your baby alludes me too.

    • MaineJen

      “Mindfulness to deal with pain”
      Bwahahahahahahaha…..
      *pauses to catch breath*
      Hahahahahahahhahahaa

    • Azuran

      I was a healthy mom with a normal pregnancy. I was offerent and took all the prevention availlable. I had all the pregnancy massage, all the breastfeeding support. Stress and nutrition were a part of all my appointment.
      I was a perfect candidate for homebirth.
      And then everything went to hell during birth because life doesnt give a shit.

      Babies have been born at home since the beginning of time AND they died a lot during birth since the beginning of time and so did mothers.

      Go ahead, have a homebirth, but be open and honest about its risks and your wish: a specific birth experience is worth doubling to quadrupling your baby’s risk of death. You know its riskier and you are willing to put that risk on your baby for your experience.

    • space_upstairs

      Well, as a happy customer of a C-section hospital birth with conventional prenatal care, I don’t think I’ve really missed out on anything important experience-wise, because:

      1) My prenatal care apparently kept my baby from having anything worse than mild and short-lived jaundice out the chute and macrosomia, the latter probably being genetic since my baby’s birth weight was almost identical to my own and I did not have GD, excessive weight before pregnancy, or excessive gain during pregnancy.
      2) My hospital team did a great job, even though the anesthesiologist was running late for the epidural in my ultimately stalled induced labor. And my labor almost surely stalled because my 9 lb 7.4 oz baby knew she wasn’t going to fit through my hips.
      3) Responsibility to control serious risks is a big part of why I chose hospital birth (although the epidural was also a major draw).
      4) My hospital midwife likes a lot of “natural” stuff but fully supports epidurals and well-indicated C-sections. When she saw my baby’s sheer mass, she no longer blamed the stalled labor on a badly behaved baby and was glad I was saved from a much worse complicated vaginal birth.

      So…we defenders of hospital birth have many reasons to appreciate our experiences and do not need to do so out of a rivalry with homebirthers. The existence of the latter here is probably largely a phenomenon of the Internet and many people’s bad homebirth experiences in a society that glorifies the “natural” as the niche of the elite consumer.

  • Box of Salt
  • rational thinker

    I bet the parents will say the placenta being left attached is what saved their babys life.

  • Anonomyte

    You can’t fix stupid.

  • bea

    Just read a great series about homebirth at:

    http://gatehousenews.com/failuretodeliver/?fbclid=IwAR11W7uvcKg-xF4Ax5Uii1AGMKWEXSSB9ibQs0pkQBgFYBAsjjYORNJyuUk

    As the wife of a paramedic, I am appalled at how midwives seem to dismiss paramedic training about neonatal emergencies compared to midwife training. My husband has done neonatal resuscitation training and can push meds and do interventions that most midwives cannot do. I would have him attend me in an emergency over a midwife any day. Insisting that a midwife has more experience is sheer lunacy.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      My husband has done neonatal resuscitation training and can push meds and do interventions that most midwives cannot do.

      Which explains the preceding sentence

      I am appalled at how midwives seem to dismiss paramedic training about neonatal emergencies compared to midwife training.

      Why do you think they dismiss it? Because they can’t do it.

    • demodocus

      Not that I mentioned it, since it was never necessary, but if I’d developed trouble at church, I wanted to be seen to by the vet rather than the CNM. I like CNM, but she’s been steeped in the current mumbo-jumbo. Vet is more pragmatic, and although all the babies she’s delivered had fur, there’ve been far more of them.

      • Labyrinthia

        A CNM should be an advanced practice nurse (a BSN with a masters in nurse midwifery which is basically equivalent to an advanced practice obstetrics nurse) and should be competent in a medical emergency. Likewise they can handle a low risk birth independently (CNMs commonly practice in hospitals, if a home birth is done they are statistically safest when assisted by CNMs) and be part of a team for higher risk births.

        That doesn’t mean some CNMs don’t go off the deep end into wooville, we have OBGYNs who do too. But they are very different from direct entry midwives who may not even have a CPR certification, depending on the locale, if they choose to practice legally at all.

    • Amazed

      Hey, are you new to this site? I thought I’ve seen your ‘nym around here but I might be mistaken. Anyway, if you’re new, you should not be surprised that they dismiss paramedic and their training. They dismiss and blame everything they can’t do for the problems that they were too uneducated to notice/take seriously.

      Anyway, if a loved one or I had an emergency, you bet I won’t be awed by the bitch midwife who didn’t even use the paramedics but kept them waiting as she tried to decide if she might like to use their service and servitude, after all. These PoSs don’t even give people with other emergencies any thought.

      • disqus_sW7nel5lNp 3+

      • anonomyssy

        I’ve home birthed with midwives and never came across one so irresponsible, quite the opposite, no one wants the patient or baby to die.

        • Heidi

          Of course they don’t want them to die. A death or two might mean they’ll have to start a Go Fund Me and even possibly move a state over to practice. Mildly inconvenient I’m sure.

          • Amazed

            It’s so much better to kill a baby through incompetence than intent, don’t you know? In fact, the baby isn’t dead at all because intent is all that matters.

        • swbarnes2

          But we also have midwives saying things like “not every baby is meant to live”, and “not every mother wants a live birth”.

          While these might be technically true for a handful of tragic cases, these are disturbing mottos for the midwife community to be throwing around

        • Amazed

          So you have come across every midwife in the first world countries? Because stats show that you put your child at risk that was a few TIMES higher than hospital birth risks. This holds true even for the most responsible midwives. No one wants the patient and baby to die, of course! They don’t kill them because they want to. They kill them because they’re incompetent.

          If your writings here are anything to go by, you’re completely duped. You’re literally unable to understand what we’re talking about. How your beloved midwives (not yours in particular but the system you are so awed at) ruins lives.

    • anonomyssy

      Thats just not true. Our midwives who delivered my youngest had us call the local paramedics and inform them that a home birth was taking place, just in case they were needed. (the were not). Zero disrespect for them.

      I will say that one of my 4 kids was born too early at home, unplanned (different city) in a panic my partner called the paramedics, they were cracking jokes, (mocking me, I didn’t hear it but someone else did and told me what they were saying…really hurt to know that at my most vulnerable they were unprofessional and not caring.).

      • momofone

        Was it actually your expectation that the paramedics would be on reserve, just waiting to hear that you needed them? What would you have done if you had needed them and they were out on other calls?

        • Heidi

          Doesn’t it seem extremely selfish to expect emergency services to be on standby so you can do some stunt birth? I guess anonymyssy thinks her totally preventable emergency took priority over others’ emergencies. It’s not like you can even claim childbirth is safe if you called paramedics to warn them of your stunt.

          • Amazed

            She thinks she showed respect to them. The thought that she wasted their time and expected them to act as her personal servants, lower than her revered midwives, never crossed her mind. To her, it isn’t any disrespect. She literally can’t grasp the selfish aspect.

        • Who?

          And-why bother with all the frills and furbelows if it is safe to birth at home after the special OB gives you the wave through and the dream team are there?

      • Amazed

        You were so disrespectful it isn’t even funny. Guess when you’ll have ME on a standby just because some homebirthing princess has decided that she wants to give birth home and might need my services to wash her princessy feet or something?

        People have emergencies as well. One that could not be expected or prevented, usually. Unlike the emergency you might have had. There are other people in this world. But I’m sure you won’t get this. The world exists to serve you, it seems. Not wasting people’s time and not taking resources off others, unexpected emergencies isn’t even at your radar, it seems. Instead, you think they should feel honoured that you called them to be on standby.

        I can’t fathom how being mocked at is worse than endangering your life and your baby’s life. BTW, I agree it’s vastly unprofessional and shouldn’t be allowed.

  • TsuDhoNimh

    I misread that article title as “Umbilical Cord Nonsense”.

    • Daleth

      That’s actually pretty accurate.

  • Emi Hirst

    There is a reason the Mother Cat chews the placenta after the kitten is born ..

    • Spiderpigmom

      Well, given the fact that the Mother Cat sometimes doesn’t stop at the placenta and eats the whole kitten (if it seems ill or weak or she’s stressed or just because) I’d keep my comparisons in the human realm…

      • Emi Hirst

        Considering the number of Butthurts in the Human Realm I think I’d rather be a cat.

        Meow.

    • PeggySue

      Well, one reason is that predators can be lured to the location of the birth by the smell of the placentas, and be able to prey upon the mother cat and kittens.

  • sara

    Also, the prolonged rupture in water…

  • 3boyz

    OT but: https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/alabama-midwives/?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=parents_fb&utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037

    I feel like we could play some sort of bingo with how poorly researched this article is, from how it glosses over the CNM/CPM difference, to the poorly understood statistics used.

    • rational thinker

      That article was horrible. It made me want to bitch slap that woman. She says her baby died cause of pitocin, even after 3 docs told her baby died cause of infection. Lets see she waited as long as she could before she went to er. Then she was already 8cm when admitted then labor stalled so they had to basically beg her to let them give her Pitocin to try to progress labor. It sounds like the baby died from prolonged rupture of membranes from her waiting so long to go to the hospital after water broke which probably had meconium in it but I don’t think mom would ever admit that. All because she didn’t want another c section someone like this should not be allowed to have kids.

    • Oh my god. I was coming here to post the same link. It’s atrocious.

  • Sue

    So worried about baby’s gut biome that you would avoid the possibility of Cesarean delivery at all costs, but cause your baby to need 6 wks of intravenous antibiotics. Sure, makes sense. Sigh.

    • Madtowngirl

      But but but, antibiotics only kill the bad bacteria! (/s in case not obvious)

      I find that most people who drone on about the gut biome have no concept of what that actually means. It’s just some fancy buzzword that they can toss around to pretend to be superior.

      • no longer drinking the koolaid

        True story: had a patient who was married to a self study chiropractor. There’s a lot more involved in this story, but let me skip to the delivery. She was PROM and stalled labor at 4 cm. Dad refused antibiotics until she had been in labor and no progress for more than 24 hours. He insisted he didn’t want them messing up the gut bacteria that he had spent 10 years correcting. Doc insisted on antibiotics for the C/sec.
        Almost immediately after the C/sec he starts giving the mom massive doses of vitamins and probiotics. It caused the worst case of ileus I have ever seen. Her abdomen was bloated and tight as a drum about to explode. She was finally convinced to allow a few doses of Reglan and it did help. However, as soon as it started to resolve, he started with his vitamins and probiotics again and the ileus returned.

        This time he refused to allow her more Reglan and took her home AMA. I saw her a week later and she still had the ileus. It was still really awful. She was in so much pain that she couldn’t hold the baby to nurse and her only comfortable position was semi-reclined.
        Her next birth was an elective C.sec.

        • Who?

          Let’s hope she also swapped out fathers as well as birth plans.

        • demodocus

          jeezus. I agree with Who?

        • rational thinker

          Im surprised he allowed her to have an elective c section for the next baby. Its kind of sounds like he was an abusive husband.

          • sdsures

            That is abuse, pure and simple.

        • Madtowngirl

          That sounds horrific and abusive. I’m glad she had an elective C-section the next time around.

        • Gene

          That is horrific. That poor woman.

        • no longer drinking the koolaid

          Same partner for next birth (elec. c/sec). I often wondered during prenatal visits if what I was seeing was abuse. Never physical, but very controlling.
          Interesting aside is that during this 1st pregnancy her sister also gave birth. Had the same issue with no progress after 4 cm. Clued me in right there that this was a pelvic shape issue. Had a dickens of a time getting my patient to even go to the hospital, then another almost 24 hours before she agreed to C/sec.

      • Heidi

        It’s like real scientists who study the gut biome can’t tell you what a healthy gut biome looks like or why there seems to be a difference in certain individuals but yeah, sure, with a little Googling and avoidance of gluten and white sugar, you can hack it and cure autism and every autoimmune disease. /s

        • anonomyssy

          I’d disagree, real scientists do know what a healthy gut biome is, and they pay top dollar for poop from healthy guts. Read up on C-diff treatments.

          • Heidi

            Eye roll. I guess we can quit funding the Human Microbiome Project since c. Diff was the only thing to know and understand.

          • swbarnes2

            Nonsense on stilts. I can look at a car, and say “I don’t think flames should be coming from the engine block”. That doesn’t mean I have and idea how to examine an engine to see if it’s working optimally. Replacing a highly dysfunctional microbiome with a not highly dysfunctional one doesn’t indicate a high level of knowledge.

    • anonomyssy

      Obviously she didn’t need a cesarean, because she had a vaginal birth. Sad to say you’re more likely to contract staph in a hospital.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think hanging onto a dead organ is gross, but it surely seems like a freak, one in a million occurrence.

      Unfortunate things happen because of hospital error all the time, yet 1 thing happens due to an alternative practice, and BOOM, break out the noose, time for a hanging.

      • rational thinker

        Obviously some newborn deaths that get counted as hospital deaths were actually a homebirth death that was transferred last minute and wrongly gets counted as hospital death.

        • Amazed

          And percentage is an overused concept, you know. At least in homebirth circles.

  • Who?

    I can only imagine how salting helps with the ‘scent’.

    There would be nothing natural about the amount of airconditioning you would need to be running around here in summer to make that possible. The flies/other insects once you were out in the open air would be totally natural though.

    Gross.

    • Sue

      “Scent” LOL. How about “stench”?

      • Sue

        And, anyway, doesn’t all that salt block the magic sparkles?

        • Who?

          Maybe the unicorns need to lick it?

          And-this is a real thinker-can it be iodised salt or does it have to be all nacheral sea salt of a particular shade of pink? Or Himalayan salt? What if the salt is so nacheral it has bits of dirt etc in it, is that better or worse?

        • StephanieJR

          Salt has it own magic, I’m sure.

          • PeggySue

            Remember, this is Sea Salt. Not regular salt; that’s way too pedestrian.

    • demodocus

      What, who doesn’t enjoy salt pork. Or mummified organs

    • Hannah

      Maybe if I properly salt my diaper pail I won’t have to empty it daily?

      • rational thinker

        yeah maybe I should put salt in my kitty litter box

  • Hannah83

    When my youngest kid’s umbilical stamp fell off during diaper change, my oldest picked it up, turned pale and was indecisive between either throwing up or passing out (then threw it on the floor and ran as fast as he could). I wonder what would have happened to the poor boy if there had been a rotten organ attached to his sister. An old and stinky placenta would as well have interfered massively with my ability to bond with her.

    • andrea

      I worked at a Living History site and saw a lady lugging around a placenta. My male colleagues were gagging, and they were docents at a historic working farm. One was even a ferrier, and accustomed to having his head two feet from a horse’s butt during a shoe change. Even he was queasy.

  • mabelcruet

    Have I misread this? Did the medical team not cut the cord until 30 hours after admission? Wouldn’t that have been better done immediately after admission? What do you bet that the parents refused point blank to have the cord cut and placenta removed until the poor baby was close to death? There’s an idiot in Australia who promotes lotus birth-I’ve read some turgid crap in my life but a piece that she wrote is definitely a low point-she described her toddler son saying that he could feel when his placenta was cut from him, like a knife in the heart.

    I examine a couple hundred placentas a month, usually from complex pregnancies. The placenta is an incredible bit of bioengineering, and on my less cynical days I actually do feel sometimes that it seems a bit disrespectful to just chuck it away when it’s no longer needed, given its such an amazing organ. Burying it in the garden (it’ll bring your roses up a treat) would be a far better way to mark its importance if you feel the need to commemorate it in some way, not dragging its rotten carcase around for days.

    • mabelcruet

      Apologies, it was her daughter Emma who ‘remembered’ the pain in her heart when her placenta was removed. Google Sarah Buckley and lotus birth. Jaw dropping idiocy-she claims that the mandarin tree where she buried the rotting placenta later produced the sweetest mandarins that were ever tasted. Given that she had it salted heavily and doused in essential oils she’s lucky it didn’t kill the tree-they don’t like salt.

      • Cat

        “Apologies, it was her daughter Emma who ‘remembered’ the pain in her heart when her placenta was removed.”

        I remember that one – a woman who is nine months pregnant with a ten pound baby pushing on her bladder really doesn’t want to laugh as hard as I laughed when I read that.

        These people really don’t seem to have grasped the fact that small children will tell you anything that they think you want to hear, however ridiculous. E.g. I told my daughter an anecdote today about our cat going to the vet before she was born; she confidently told me that she remembered that incident and, in fact, she took him to the vet and paid the vet while I looked after the other cat at home.

        The sad part comes in when these women are so determined to convince their kids that they are damaged goods because of their c-section birth, induction, cord-cutting, and the kids probably soak it up like little sponges.

        • Sue

          Exactly – toddlers are known to be unable to distinguish reality from fantasy until they reach the appropriate developmental stage. We all tell them stories and read them books in which funny or fantastic things happen. They eventually work out that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are legends, just like the magic of dead placentas.

          • swbarnes2

            Around age 3, my little one told me that it was okay that Barbie’s feet were way smaller than her forearms, because she’s just a toy. I guess she thought I was the one having a hard time separating fantasy from reality.

          • Cristina

            My 7 year old “remembers” stories from a few years ago that I’m confident he is just regurgitating from what I’ve told him.

          • Merrie

            My 7 year old is sure she remembers when her brother was born, but given that she was 2 1/2 I doubt it.

        • demodocus

          BoyBard was telling me how he used to drive steam trains and the Norfolk Southern route that goes through our town.

        • Who?

          My daughter used to talk about when she and her brother lived together in an old people’s home. The only time she had ever heard of an old people’s home was in the lovely story Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

          https://memfox.com/books/wilfrid-gordon-mcdonald-partridge/

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
      • Sue

        And another stray thought: do babies remember, with regret, when their Ductus Arteriosus closes and their fetal circulation perfuses their lungs, or when their Hemoglobin reverts from fetal to mature? “Waaaaa! I miss my fetal physiology! I have a pain in my bone marrow!”

        • momofone

          Only if they aren’t gleefully and exclusively breastfed.

      • JD

        I am reading this article now. My favourite part is that for each successive child she gets lazier and lazier with aftercare of the placenta (she tries to conceal this with flowery language, but read closely)…the first one she salts and drops oil on daily, puts baby’s clothes on around the cord, and keeps it in a special velvet bag; the second kid she just leaves the baby undressed and keeps the placenta in a sieve over a bowl (?!?!?!) and the third one her “intuition” told her that it would break off soon so she didn’t even bother to “treat” the placenta and just kept it in a sieve near the baby, and she admits it started to stink. What. The. Hell.

    • Ozlsn

      Yeah I wondered about the cutting the cord after 30 hours post-admission too. At that stage the baby was 50 hours – over 2 days – old. That is ridiculous. Even at admission he was nearly a day old, I can’t imagine carting the placenta into hospital helped things at all. Lots more opportunities to contaminate it for starters.

      When they work placentas can be pretty amazing. Given that my son’s was failing dismally and was a likely contributer to my severe preeclampsia and a definite contributer to his prematurity and severe IUGR I was fine with it being chopped up for medical research.

    • TsuDhoNimh

      “Did the medical team not cut the cord until 30 hours after admission?”

      They probably meant “cut it again to make a nice large place to put antibiotics”.

      • rational thinker

        Maybe the parents would not allow them to cut it

    • rational thinker

      I think some Hispanic families take it home bury it and plant a tree over it.Thats a nice sane way to do something with it.

      • mabelcruet

        I think that some people of the Muslim faith do that too. We used to occasionally get requests to return the placenta after examination in the lab. As far as I understand it, Muslims consider the placenta to be a fetal organ, not a maternal one. The body is the gift of Allah, and to honour that gift you have to treat the body respectfully: one way of doing this is burying the placenta.

  • Melissa Wickersham

    Yuck. At least mama cats eat the placentas from their births, not leave them attached to their kittens like these “lotus birth” idiots do with their all too human babies. Sometimes humans can be dumber than our pets.

    • StephanieJR

      Some animals are supposed to consume the placenta after birth, to clean up/get back some nutrients, but humans are not one of them.

      • sdsures

        Most animals in the wild do so to eliminate the smell of fresh blood so their newborn doesn’t attract every carnivore in the vicinity.

        But humans have ZERO reason to keep the placenta or do anything with it when the kid’s born.

    • Sue

      Even the proponents admit that it’s an invented “ritual”:

      “Although we have no written records of cultures that leave the cord uncut, many traditional peoples hold the placenta in high esteem.” and “Lotus birth is a new ritual, having only been described in chimpanzees before 1974.”

      “Rachana Chivan” is a middle-aged white woman from Melbourne whose real name is Evans, and is associated with the “International College of Spiritual Midwifery”. She provides:

      “Breath therapy & cellular memory release

      Healing/Resolving Birth trauma for mothers & babies

      Relationship and Life Direction Counselling

      Marriage Preparation

      Subtle Energy Rebalancing

      Family Soul workshops

      Phone Counselling”

  • Mel

    Six weeks with an IV access for antibiotics? Yuck.

    Well, I mean, less yucky than dying of an infection contracted from a rotting placenta – but that’s rough for a newborn. I had an IV access in my dominant hand for 8 days surrounding Spawn’s forced eviction and that was plenty long enough for me.

    Spawn managed to get through 4 months in the NICU with less than two weeks of IV access and one infection that was caught through blood tests before he was showing any symptoms.

    That’s modern medicine for you – reducing mortality and morbidity for babies born months early through interventions.

    That’s also natural childbirth for you – bringing mortality and morbidity to otherwise healthy term babies through made-up crazy rituals.

  • demodocus

    Do harm to none is a fine philosophy, but as any philosopher worth her salt knows, a philosophy that fits on a bumper sticker is no philosophy. Maybe there’s more behind the thought, but these folks clearly discount the idea that inaction could cause significantly more harm than the original brief harm.

    And then there’s my nephew’s ovarian cancer riddled placenta.

    • Who?

      Well, yes.

      And also, doing nothing is a choice. The idea that doing nothing absolves you from responsibility for the outcome is like thinking that if you cover your eyes, no one can see you.

      • demodocus

        oh yes indeed. I used to read philosophy tomes to Dem in college for a little extra money and tea. (The disability resource office would pay people to read texts that various blind students couldn’t find in another format; most of our friends did at least a semester of this. The tea was an added benefit.)

  • Michael Ray Overby

    This “Lotus birth” practice is nothing more than Neo-Shamanic craziness brought to a head. Are we gonna see the baby’s Umbilical Stump smeared with the Dung of the Sacred Cow, as certain Central African tribes now practice, once “Lotus Brrth” falls into Disfavor? smdh…

    • Please don’t give the NCB crowd new ideas.

    • sdsures

      Lotus birth is cultural appropriation, except that the parent culture never did it in the first place.

  • rational thinker

    Even a housecat knows to cut the cord.

  • andrea

    “I just gave birth in the woods! Come eat us, mountain lions, we smell awesome!”

  • “Ironically, families seeking a more natural birth option may end up getting a more invasive experience than a family choosing standard delivery and newborn care.”

    Seriously. Last kid, I stayed in the hospital a grand total of 32 hours (this was an induction), and the baby was in my room the entire time. I was GBS positive, but had time to get the penicillin, so was allowed to leave early. Imagine a different scenario in which I gave birth at home, the baby got sick, and he had to be in the NICU for weeks with all sorts of invasive tubes and procedures–if he was lucky, and didn’t simply die like poor little Wren.

    Preventive measures–like cutting off the dead flesh from one’s delicate newborn–actually prevent more prolonged interventions.

    • demodocus

      My NICU grad had a less invasive experience. She was out in a few days.

      • Sorry, didn’t mean to imply that all babies stay in the NICU for weeks–but they can, if they catch an infection, and something that is easily preventable should be, well, prevented.

        • demodocus

          Oh, goodness, i didn’t think you had. I was just adding that even my NICU grad had a better experience than this poor baby.

      • Sarah

        Same. Then briefly readmitted, but even so, all done and dusted in the first week.

    • Alicia

      My hospital required a 72 hour stay for being GBS positive in addition to the antibiotics, but I was happy to stay there however long to make sure my son wasn’t sick and didn’t need interventions!