If you want to have a lotus birth AND encapsulate, here are three ways to do so:
#1 Way) Keep baby connected to umbilical cord and the placenta for up to 4 hours. This is the easiest way to keep the placenta fit for encapsulation and allows the new mom to receive the highest # of placenta capsules; while baby gets a gentle transition into the world and receives the benefits of a lotus birth. DO NOT exceed 4 hours before separating baby from placenta.
During the lotus period, keep the placenta in a bowl of ice and cover to prevent spoilage. Afterwards, put the placenta in a food-safe container or Ziploc bag and store in the fridge until the day of encapsulation.
#2 Way) This method is similar to the one above, but allows baby to stay attached to the cord and the placenta for a longer period of time. What you do is put the placenta in a small thermal bag with a zipper around the top. Buy 6 freezer ice packs that fit in this bag and put 2 of these packs in freezer. Within 4 hours of the placenta being born, put the placenta in a food-safe container. Then you are going to put a frozen pack on the bottom of bag + one on top of placenta + another on the side. Zip it up with baby’s umbilical cord coming out of the corner of the zipped up bag.
Rotate out the ice packs regularly. I recommend keeping a thermostat in the cooler to be certain the temperature remains a constant 40 degrees F or below. The placenta can remain like this for up to 48 hours. Baby gets an even gentler transition into the world and you get the full amount of placenta capsules. Win-win. Keep in mind that not all hospitals will allow this method and not all parents want to deal with a baby still attached to his cord.
#3 Way) At 4 hours postpartum sever a large portion of placenta to encapsulate. Put it in the fridge. The remaining piece of placenta attached to the cord can stay intact until it falls off naturally. This method is a modified version of a lotus birth. On the encapsulation side of things, you will receive fewer capsules.
When baby is born, it only has 2/3rd of blood; 1/3rd remains in the umbilical cord and placenta.
As a PBi-Certified Placenta Encapsulationist, I advocate that all my expectant mom’s delay cord clamping, whether or not they do a lotus birth. I always know when a baby is lucky enough to experience this, or one of the above modified lotus birth choices, because they are more calm with great circulation. I see this time and time again.
I am trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Part of this method entails draining the blood from placental veins prior to cooking the placenta with special herbs. When parents request delayed cord clamping this process is about 10 minutes to complete. When parents allow baby’s cord to be cut right away it takes about 45 minutes to drain blood. That’s a lot of blood going down drain, rather than in baby; blood rich in white blood cells, iron, and stem cells.
Ask your doctor to delay cord clamping.
A placenta should be encapsulated within 72 hours of birth or placed in the freezer in a sealed container. This way you will receive the most hormones which are inside the placental tissue. If the placenta is encapsulated after 3 days (even if kept cool/unspoiled) the capsules will be less potent from a hormonal point of view because they begin to metabolize and change. There, got my geek-on. That said, the iron and other nutrients take longer to break down and are still beneficial.
I hope that the above options offer you (and your baby) a gentle birth while gaining the benefits of your placenta capsules.
Once we had the placenta wrapped up and secure it was a small bundle to carry with our baby. Because we already need to gently carry baby, it’s not a big deal to have to gently carry the placenta. It felt good to be soft with our newborn – no cutting. Peaceful beginnings are good beginnings. (dad of 2 lotus babies)
Buckley, S. (2010). Lotus and Undisturbed Birth. Retrieved at http://www.lovenaturalbirth.com/sarah-buckley.html
Daily Mail Reporter (2013). The Rise of ‘Lotus Births’. Retrieved at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2307117/The-rise-lotus-births-How-mothers-leaving-babys-umbilical-cord-ATTACHED-falls-days-later.html
Gaskin, I. (2003). Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. New York, New York: Bantam Books
Lim, R. (2001). After The Baby’s Birth: A Complete Guide For Postpartum Women. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts
Lim, R. (2010). Placenta the Forgotten Chakra. Bali, Indonesia: Half Angel Press
Rachana, S. (2012). Lotus Birth. Retrieved at http://www.bellawitch.com/lotus_birth.htm
Selander, J. (2013). Placenta Benefits.Info. Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo Credit: Thank you Cassie Emmett, for this beautiful photo at www.capturinglife.co.nz
May all bellies (and babies) be happy!