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Cord clamping

“Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.”

–Erasmus Darwin, 1801

I’m a big believer in physiological processes.  They usually work.  If my digestion is working, there is no need to mess with it.  Likewise, birth is a normal event.  We don’t grow a cord clamp or pair of scissors that are magically delivered when we give birth.  Heck, that pesky cord doesn’t even have snaps or velcro for easy detachment.  Did you know that changes in the Wharton’s jelly will create an internal clamping within about 10-20 minutes of birth?  If left completely alone (i.e. lotus birth), the cord will, in fact, detach on its own in 2 or 3 days.   

  • Was it meant to be cut within seconds of birth? 
  • What about the baby’s blood that is circulating through the cord and the placenta? 
  • What does it mean for the baby when she doesn’t get that blood back? 
  • What does it look like for the baby who has received oxygen via her cord and suddenly must transition to breathing air? 
  • Who has the burden of proof here? 

Hmmmm, there must be a reason why the umbilical cord continues pumping for a few minutes after the baby is born. 

Want to know more?  Want to see research?  Or more research?  And, hey, that just skims the surface.

The picture above shows Cedar’s cord after it stopped pulsing.  We waited until the placenta was birthed before we messed with her cord. 

7 responses »

  1. Looking over my birth plan, one OB said with a smirk, “the cord doesn’t pulse” and crossed it off. How I long for a different outcome, even while I hold my awesome little blessing.

  2. Well, of course, Katy…they’re always cutting the darn thing so quickly they never see a pulse!

    I’ve also heard an OB say to the mom, “I can either hand you your baby or I can stand here and hold him until the cord stops. If I put the baby on you, the blood will run out of the baby and back to the placenta.”

  3. i am laughing heartily at that one! run out of the baby! that’s why they’re in such a hurry. who knew?

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