Who should be the one to cut the cord? Nobody, perhaps. Mary Cealleigh, a midwife educator from Texas, believes that leaving the umbilical cord attached after birth is healthier for the baby.
"Babies' immune systems are going through huge changes at a very rapid rate when they're first born," Cealleigh says. "Not disrupting the baby's blood volume at that time helps prevent future disease." Those who have tried it say that it also helps the navel area heal better, creating a nicer-looking belly button!
Mary Cealleigh, 47, midwife educator
This unorthodox trend is called "lotus birth" and has been practiced by about five percent of Cealleigh's patients. She herself has helped deliver more than 100 natural births and is an advocate for the lotus birth method.
Here's how it works: After birth, the baby stays connected to the placenta by the umbilical cord. The placenta is washed, rubbed with salt and herbs, and wrapped in a nice cloth. It hangs out with the baby for several days. It usually takes 3-10 days for the cord to dry up and break away naturally.
Aside from the biological benefits, Cealleigh also believes that the process of taking care of a lotus-birthed baby makes a better initial bonding experience for the mother and child. Here's a video of one woman's experience giving a "lotus birth":