It’s one thing when someone kills themselves because of their own nitwittery. It may rate them a Darwin Award, but what the hell. But when they kill their own newborn infant, that’s another thing entirely. Excerpt:
Lotus Birth occurs when both the baby and the placenta are delivered without severance of the umbilical cord, which is typically delayed 30 to 60 seconds but must be done right away when a newborn needs urgent evaluation and possible resuscitation. In most Lotus Births, the placenta is left attached to the baby for at several days and is kept in a special salt and herb-filled sack or bucket until the dried umbilical cord separates naturally from the baby.
In her still prominent (top ten when searching “Lotus Birth” on Google) and recently updated post on Lotus Birth, Genevieve “Mama Natural” Howland attempts to present a balanced discussion of the practice, likely pulling in people on the fence, but fails miserably:
Lotus birth is about keeping the umbilical cord and placenta with the baby while he or she gently transitions to life outside the womb. It is a quiet and respectful transfer of attachment, without the trauma of being cut from the mother.
This implies that cutting the umbilical cord after 30-60 seconds, which has solid evidence of benefit compared to immediate severance when a newborn is stable, is somehow…disrespectful and traumatic. This is absurd. I put the full weight of my 2 decades of medical experience behind the fact that babies don’t care when the cord is cut. And it is a painless procedure, as there are no nerves in the cord.
Howland further reveals her bias by implying that Lotus Birth is based in some kind of ancient wisdom:
The name comes from the lotus flower, a flower important to Eastern cultures for its symbolism of unity, detachment, and rebirth. Lotus births speckle the history of childbirth in cultures around the globe, in places like Bali and Southern Africa. Historical traces of lotus births appear in Europe as early as the Middle Ages. And records of not cutting the umbilical cord appear on the American continent as early as the pioneer days. In Western nations, lotus birth seems to be a new birth trend steeped in early tradition.
She links to a 2012 article that discusses the timing of cord severance from a historical perspective but which doesn’t at all touch on Lotus Birth. Since 2012, we have learned a lot about the potential benefits of delaying clamping of the umbilical cord and it has become a science-based practice. But again, Lotus Birth is not remotely the same thing as delayed cord clamping.
Here’s the onion:
In 2017, Harlow (Eden) was born via an emergency C-Section in a Melbourne hospital. She was a “miracle baby” born after 13 years and more than a dozen IVF attempts. This, and exposure to all manner of pseudoscientific medical misinformation, likely led Harlow’s parents to choose a Lotus Birth. Their stated goal was to ease Harlow’s transitioning and to boost her immune system.
As is often the case, because parents unfortunately tend to cluster these types of poor medical decisions, Harlow’s parents also chose to refuse science-based recommendations for intramuscular vitamin K and the Hepatitis B vaccine. They also practiced vaginal seeding, another risk factor for serious infection. And, sadly, they also refused initial attempts by hospital staff to move Harlow to a special care nursery for closer observation.
By 16 hours of age, Harlow had developed hypoglycemia, which can occur in any baby but is more likely to occur when they are sick. At that point, the umbilical cord was cut and she was transferred to the special care nursery. She soon developed signs of sepsis, with respiratory distress and poor perfusion, so antibiotics were initiated. Despite this, she died the following day after having been transferred to a tertiary care center. The coroner determined that Harlow died from sepsis in the setting of a Lotus Birth.
It’s important to note that almost all placental mammals cut the umbilical cord very quickly after birth, usually by biting/chewing, and usually within a couple of minutes, and for many millions of years now placental mammals have been having healthy offspring. So this is hardly a brand-new practice.
I’m honestly in favor of freedom of choice in all things, even medical treatment, as long as it’s a consenting adult agreeing to New Age kookery. If someone wants to listen to quackery (Gwyneth, are you listening?) and stick a jade egg up their cooze only to die of toxic shock, that’s on them.
But in this case there was an innocent infant involved. If this isn’t a case of child neglect resulting in death, I don’t know what is.