Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 26 September 2013

New birthing fad sees newborns left with placenta attached for up to 10 days... -

New birthing fad sees newborns left with placenta attached for up to 10 days... - 

When Adele Allen's family and friends arrived for a first cuddle with her newborn son, they could be forgiven for feeling a little squeamish. Although baby Ulysses was a healthy little boy, he had a rather unusual companion at night - his umbilical cord and placenta.
Ulysses was six days old before he was finally parted from the, by then, rotten support system which had kept him alive for nine months in the womb.
His mother and father are part of a growing band of parents who believe that lotus birthing, the practice of leaving the placenta attached to the baby until it falls off naturally, has physical and emotional benefits for newborns.

However, obstetricians this week expressed grave concerns about this new trend of leaving the umbilical cord on babies tummies for between three to ten days, which they warn could lead to serious infection and even death in newborns.

'We are aware that a number of women are choosing umbilical non-severance, known as lotus birth, and this is something we would discourage,' says consultant obstetrician Pat O'Brien, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. 
'If you wanted to pick an environment that encourages bacteria to grow you probably could not do better than to leave the placenta attached after birth.
'Soon after the baby is born there is no longer any circulation in the placenta, so it’s dead tissue and full of blood, making it the perfect culture medium for bacteria.

'The placenta belongs to the baby and they often spend a lot of time touching the cord in the womb, so it's a very familiar, comforting thing for them'
'Babies who go through the normal process of having the cord cut soon after the birth can sometimes develop infections in the little stump and, if not treated, these can lead to septicaemia which gets into the bloodstream, making the baby very ill. If the baby is not treated with antibiotics, usually in hospital, it can sometimes even be fatal.
'If the placenta remains attached, that risk of infection is greater.'
Even more troubling is the fact that many who opt to have lotus births also have 'unassisted home births' with no midwife or doctor present.
This was the case with Adele, 29 a one-time yoga instructor and now a full-time mum who lives in Brighton, and her husband, Matt, 30, a yoga instructor and health coach.
'Rather than increase it, we believe non-severance actually reduces the risk of infection because there are no open wounds, unlike when the cord is cut and clamped,' says Adele.
Umbilical cord non-severance, popular with early western European settlers in America, was revived in the 1980s by yoga practitioners exploring natural birth and has since been more widely practised in Australia and some parts of America. The yogis gave it its 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.
During a normal birth, the umbilical cord is clamped within minutes of the baby being delivered, though mothers can request that it is not severed until the placenta has come away from the womb - up to 25 minutes after the birth.
While doctors are adamant that there are no medical advantages to lotus birthing, Adele, like its other advocates, insists otherwise.

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