Oh Baby: Lotus Birth - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oh Baby: Lotus Birth

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(KWWL)-- It's a moment most moms and dads remember well, when the baby is born and the dad or grandparent gets the honor of cutting the cord. But now, a new trend cuts out cutting the cord completely, and it's causing debate.

Like most mothers, Christine Monteith remembers those first few newborn days with love. But her baby's birth was different than most-in her case, they never cut the cord.

"I carried the placenta with the baby," said Christine Monteith, who delivered lotus birth.

There was nothing medically wrong-it was by choice. Christine decided to have what's called a lotus birth.

"The cord is left uncut and the cord and the placenta then stay with the baby until it naturally falls off which tends to be about three to four days," said certified midwife Jennifer Gagnon.

During the pregnancy, the umbilical cord connects the baby to the mother, delivering nutrients to the baby, and taking waste away. But after delivery, Dr. Michele Curtis, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, says its role is done.

"After the first three minutes or so when the blood vessels have spasmed and the cord has clamped itself off there is no more benefit for the child to remain attached," says Dr. Curtis.

However, the web is filled with videos of people, like Christine, who disagree. They believe the cord also has a spiritual and emotional connection to the baby and that cutting it is harsh. The practice is becoming more common among home birthing advocates.

"We covered the placenta with sea salts and dried lavender flowers before we covered it in cloth," said Monteith.

It's critical for parents to remember to pick up the placenta when they pick up the baby or risk ripping it off, but that's not doctor Curtis' main concern.

"The placenta is filled with blood; it's filled with different types of cells, so it's a rich environment for bacteria to grow in... so you have this long bridge between the placenta and the baby and bacteria can climb up that bridge."

We contacted the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The group has no stance on the issue. Their British counterpart believes women have a right to decide, but should know the risks. They point out no research exists on lotus births and there is currently no medical evidence that it is of benefit to the baby. Advocates say they believe they're making the right choice.

"It is the most natural and non-invasive, non-violent way of giving birth." "I would say live and let live. No one is asking them to do a lotus birth."

Online Reporter: Sunny Layne

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