Lotus birth (or umbilical nonseverance) is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus, usually a few days after birth.
There is no proof either way about whether they are medically beneficial for newborns or not. "No research exists on lotus birth."  The practice is mainly seen as being a spiritual procedure rather than one of significant in medicine.
Although recently arisen as an alternative birth phenomenon in the clinical West, super-delayed (1+ hours post-birth) umbilical severance is common in home births, and umbilical nonseverance have been recorded in a number of cultures including that of the Balinese  and of some aboriginal peoples such as the !Kung.
Early American pioneers, in written diaries and letters, reported practicing nonseverance of the umbilicus as a preventative measure to protect the infant from an open wound infection.
In the 1980s, yoga practitioners brought the idea to the United States and Australia, with the "lotus birth moniker, creating a link between the preciousness of the placenta and the high esteem in which the lotus is held in the Hindu and Buddhist faiths". Yoga master and midwife Jeannine Parvati Baker being the main advocate for the practice in the United States.
In the full lotus birth clinical protocol, the umbilical cord which is attached to the baby's navel and placenta, is not clamped nor cut, and the baby is immediately placed on the mother's belly/chest (depending on the length of the cord) or kept in close proximity to the mother in cases when medically necessary procedures such as resuscitation may be needed. In lotus birth, after the placenta is born vaginally (often with the maternal informed choice for passive management of third stage allowing for natural detachment of the placenta within appropriate time allowed for it, with no hormonal injections such as oxytocin) or via cesarean section (the most common operating room procedure in the U.S.).
Following birth, the placenta is simply put in a bowl or quickly wrapped in absorbent towelling and placed near the mother-baby caregivers step back to allow for undisturbed maternal-child bonding to occur as the primary event for an hour or more. It is only after this initial intense bonding period that the placenta is managed by rinsing, drying, applying preservatives, and positioning it in a way that allows for plentiful air circulation and proximity to the baby. After several days, the cord dries and detaches from the baby's belly, generally 3–10 days postpartum.
Relation to nature
Significantly delayed cord cutting as well as nonseverance being found in birth anthropology along with the universality of reverence for the cord & placenta (as found in the Tree of Life beliefs of tribal cultures around the world and reported to the world by scholar & professor Joseph Campbell.
Primatologist Jane Goodall, who was the first person to conduct long-term studies of chimpanzees in the wild, reported that they did not chew or cut their offspring's cords, instead leaving the umbilicus intact, like many other monkeys. Though other mammals may sever their offspring's cords, they only do so after initial maternal sensory reception, unwinding of the cord, massage/cleaning (through touch), and initiation of nursing  phase which has been observed to involve at least one hour, if left undisturbed.
Proponents of lotus births view the baby and the placenta as one on a cellular level, as they are from the same source egg & sperm conceptus. They also assert that the newborn and the placenta as existing within the same quantum field and thus influencing various expressions of quantum mechanics that influence health involving transfers of energy & cellular information continuing to take place gradually from the tissue of the placenta to the baby during the drying process. As the placenta is a vital organ of the baby, composed of the same cells as the baby, and as it was formed by the sixth week of conception from these cells, lotus birth takes an integral approach to postpartum bonding. Given that the baby and placenta share cellular material and gestational molecular resonance, lotus birth practitioners view the placenta with respect and care, and allow for the natural process of undisturbed bonding and the slow drying cord to provide a unique transitional period of mindfulness between birth and neonatal existence.
Mothers who choose lotus birth cite are assured of undisturbed bonding with their child and no unnecessary medical procedures to distract them, particularly during the first hour after birth, which is the most critical time for the establishment of exclusive bonding focus for breastfeeding and is neurologically affected by any interruptions.
Lotus births are an extremely rare practice in hospitals. Full lotus birth is not a medical necessity in Western society, and its benefits have not been yet been proven, though lotus birth is a routine practice found in the culture of present-day Bali, a recently established practice in Australian hospitals (including for cases of prematurity and cesarean) and is occasionally practiced in clinical birth centers and home births worldwide.
Once the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating after birth, transfer of physical substances is said to be complete by current medical standards. Several clinical studies have shown that delaying clamping the umbilical cord for a period not only allows more blood to be transferred but helps prevent anemia as well, though there "remains no consensus among scientists and clinicians on cord clamping and proper cord blood collection" according to Dr. Stephen Klasko, senior vice president of University of South Florida Health and dean of the University of South Florida College of Medicine.
Though most Western medical scholars have never seen a natural clamping and cord detachment process and this is not taught in medical schools, some physicians have published on the topic, most notably Sarah Buckley MD, and Australian physician and Michel Odent MD, a French obstetrician. A potential benefit of lotus birth is that the risk of neonatal tetanus is eliminated. According to former chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, U.K. Belinda Phipps, "When a baby is born, about a third of the baby's blood is still in his/her cord and placenta. With no good evidence to support it, it is accepted practice to accelerate the arrival of the placenta with an injection and clamp and cut the cord immediately, depriving the baby of this blood."
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has stated, "If left for a period of time after the birth, there is a risk of infection in the placenta which can consequently spread to the baby. The placenta is particularly prone to infection as it contains blood. At the post-delivery stage, it has no circulation and is essentially dead tissue," and the RCOG strongly recommends that any baby that undergoes lotus birthing be monitored closely for infection.
The risk of the mother hemorrhaging during a lotus birth has been noted by Associate Professor Steve Robson of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
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