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Cord Burning

Photo Credit: Capturing Life: Read the Full Birth Story Here.

Cord burning is a beautiful and gentle way to separate the placenta and baby from each other. This method can be done after the placenta has been born, and is still attached to the baby. They also call this a partial lotus birth.

The open flame cauterizes the umbilical cord, preventing infection. The intention being that it moves the Qi (life force) remaining in the placenta to the baby.

Why burn the cord?

 If you do not have sterile instruments for cutting the umbilical cord it is safer and cleaner to burn it. In addition, the cord stump will dry up and fall off faster if it is burned. Please follow the instructions below carefully. It is best done with two people helping one another. The process takes about 10-15 minutes.

Also always check with your care provider as it might not be possible if you choose to birth in a hospital or birthing centre; many of them have no-flame policies.

What you will need:

+ Two or more long candles.

+ A lighter or matches.

+ A heat guard like cardboard to protect your little one from the heat – 2 layers is recommended. This will help you to protect baby.

+ Cord burning box: You can layer it with a heat proof insert, like aluminium foil to catch any dripping wax.

Cord Burning Box With Personalized Photo Transfer

  • Instructions:  Unless there is an emergency it is best to wait 3 hours or more after the birth of the placenta.
  • The baby should be swaddled and lying on his/her side with the placenta lying in the opposite direction to which the baby is facing. (pic 1.)
  • Use double layered cardboard to protect the baby from the heat.
  • Light a candle and choose a spot to burn the cord – about 12 cm from the baby’s belly.
  • Someone can hold the cord steady, but be mindful and gentle, don’t pull!  (pic 2.)
  • Position the candles opposite one another above the box, and begin to burn the cord. (pic 3.)
  • While you’re burning you may wish to turn the cord, burning all sides. Keep burning until the cord has completely burned through.

Photo Credit: Sacred Postpartum


  • From time to time feel the cord on the baby’s side of the heat guards, to make sure it is not getting too hot.
  • You may hear a loud pop or explosion while burning. Don’t worry it is a natural sound caused by the built up gases releasing from the umbilical cord. The smell is often like a barbecue.
  • You may wish to sing a beautiful spiritual song during this ritual.
  • Once the cord and placenta are separated from baby, wait some time before  letting the burned cord stump touch the baby’s skin, touch it to check as it may stay hot for a minute or two.
  • You will not need  to put any kind of medicine  on the baby’s cord stump, it will fall off in a few days all by itself.
  • If you follow the instructions carefully this practice should be absolutely safe.
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