So you went and got yourself knocked up and here it is nine months later and the labour pains are so excruciating that you actually wish your belly would just explode and be done with it. But because you are one with the Goddess of the Earth and just know that all western medicine is evil, you have decided to give birth in the comfort of your own home. Away from all those traumatizing bright lights and cold sterile conditions full of pill pushing doctors who just want to drug you up for profit.You know exactly how it will go: You will get cozy in your blow up kiddy pool full of warm water, the new age music in the background comforting you. Your jolly midwife telling you to breathe deep and the doting baby father caressing your cheek. You will squeeze out a beautiful, healthy baby with no problems. Angels will appear singing Halleluiah and a fawn will trot out of your kitchen and gently lick the newborn goo off your sweetly cooing prodigy nestled in the arms of Mother Nature.
|It will probably look something like this|
After that you will push out that amazing organ called the placenta which has sustained your little precious one for the last nine months. The umbilical cord that fed your baby attaches the placenta to what will become the world's cutest belly button. Then you will gently wash the placenta, place it in a colander and wait for it to rot off your baby.
Yup. Seems the new-age home birthers, in their ever needy goal to one up each other have decided that leaving the umbilical cord and placenta attached until it naturally falls off in about 3-10 days is the way to go. They have called this Lotus Birthing and it is the epitome of new-ageiness. Because:
"Lotus Birth is part of the continuum in the development and unfolding of the human organism. Lotus Birth is also part of the continuum of awakening consciousness expressing itself via the birth process."
|I hope the dog doesn't get peckish!|
Now if you want to have a home birth, whatever. Don't let me tell you otherwise. I don't care if you want to give birth riding bareback on a beach in Mexico. But I personally think that the potential risk is just way too high. I want ALL the medical intervention nearby. This isn't the 18th Century anymore. If you are lucky enough to have access to a hospital and experienced medical professionals, you'd be a fool to not take advantage of that. But I guess that's not "natural" enough. Bah! Once upon a time my appendix was ready to burst. I suppose the "natural" thing to do would have been to die a horrible, painful death via exploded appendix. But I chose to go the "unnatural" route of surgery in a big, bad hospital. Damn that evil western medicine!
Statistics I have found show that the neonatal death rate among home birth babies is three times higher than hospital births! That makes sense really. Sure everything is hunky dory if you have a nice uncomplicated experience where your pride and joy plops out without difficulty. But there are just so many things that can, and have, gone wrong. I gave birth to my daughter without problems but it turned out that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid and she had to be immediately tended to. I found out later that if she had not, it could have led to meconium aspiration syndrome which is potentially fatal. Now would a midwife have the knowledge and equipment to deal with that? I don't know but I certainly would not have wanted to find out the hard way.
It's not just the baby's life that is a concern either. A friend with medical experience told me a story of an uncomplicated birth she attended in a hospital where everything seemed to be going swimmingly until the woman started profusely hemorrhaging. Blood was spurting literally everywhere and folks were actually slipping around in it. They barely got her down the hall and into surgery fast enough to save her life. Had she been at home, not only would that have ended in one dead new mommy, but also one helluva carpet cleaning bill.
Now about this placenta business. It seems that the placenta has always been revered and many different cultures treat it in many different ways. From burying it to eating it, the wacky things people feel they need to do with this hunk of meat, has no bounds. Some will dehydrate it, crush it up and fill capsules up with it that they then pop assuming it helps with postpartum depression and such. There is, of course, no evidence suggesting that consuming the placenta has any more benefit than chowing down on a steak.
That is also the case with the ultimate in nuttiness that is Lotus Birth. While the placenta is incredibly important for the nine months of gestation, it serves zero purpose once it is expelled from your body. The common practice is to cut the umbilical cord very shortly after birth. There have been studies touting the benefits of cutting the cord later than is traditional in order to pass the last of the blood from placenta to baby. But by "later" I mean 1-3 minutes. NOT several days! Not surprisingly, there is also an increased risk of infection from keeping a rotting organ attached to your new bundle of joy.
But according to this Lotus Birth advocacy site:
"Lotus Birth is a call to pay attention to the natural physiological process. It's practice, through witnessing, restores faith in the natural order. Lotus Birth extends the birth time into the sacred days that follow and enables baby, mother and father and all family members to pause, reflect and engage in nature's conduct. Lotus birth is a call to return to the rhythms of nature, to witness the natural order and to the experience of not doing, just being."
That there is some gag inducing new age speak that says nothing at all useful about why anyone should do this. Please tell me a medical reason that has been studied and validated. Oh, you can't? Ok then. Buh Bye. They say that cutting the cord is somehow traumatic for mom and baby. I asked my daughter and she has no recollection of having her cord cut. Hell, even I don't remember them cutting her cord.
Of course your placenta is yours to do whatever the hell you want with. Have a funeral for it, bake it into a cake, or leave it attached 'til it stinks up your house. I really don't care. But that isn't going to stop me from thinking that you are completely off your rocker.