Back in 2013 the internet met “Lotus Birth Mom,” a batshit, anti-vax, hippie mom who became famous for her “lotus birth,” in which she delivered her baby and then did not cut the umbilical cord at all and just carried him around attached to his own placenta for six days, until in a fit of newborn pique he summoned up the strength and finger coordination of a much older baby and finally yanked off his own festering umbilical cord.

Lotus Birth Mom said that not cutting the umbilical cord offers immune protection and reduced risk of infection, but she also says that hay fever is caused by guilt, nosebleeds caused by parents who don’t love you enough, and pink eye is what happens when children “don’t want to see,” so maybe we shouldn’t take advice about infections from someone who thinks anemia is caused by “lack of joy.” Instead of listening to her, we should perhaps listen to the doctors who are saying, “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,” as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said back in 2008.

“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,” said RCOG spokesperson Pat O’Brien. “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.”

Lotus Birth Mom was supposed to be a wacky one-off story, limited to one or two weird bloggers with some odd ideas about medicine. But it looks like this Lotus Birth thing is actually becoming a trend, and that’s pretty disturbing.

According to CafeMom, people are now even posting photos of their lotus births to Instagram. There are more than 4,000 photos on Instagram tagged #lotusbirth, and if you need to see some pictures of placentas wearing flower crowns, that’s a link you could click.

Lotus Birth Mom originally said that to see how we should deliver babies, we should look to animals. The problem with that is that most animals do not leave their placentas attached after birth. Often they eat the placenta, to get rid of blood and afterbirth that might otherwise attract predators. Or they leave the placenta where it is and move themselves away from it.

Lotus Birth Mom and her husband eventually started a crowdfunding page to try to raise 130,000 dollars so they could move “off the grid” and have a “truly self-sufficient” lifestyle. At the time we mocked it, but maybe we should have given them the money so they’d go away.

(Image: iStockPhoto / nd3000)