Optimal Cord Clamping by Midwife Alinta

If you have had a baby before you may remember the Midwives or Doctor clamping your babies cord and either your partner, support person, the Midwife/Doctor or yourself then cut the cord right after your baby was born. Well let me let you in on a little secret… times are a changing!!!

Unless you are planning on having a Lotus birth (When the cord and placenta are left attached to the baby until the cord detaches itself. It usually takes 3-10 days. The placenta is cured with salt and oils to prevent it from smelling and to help it dry out sooner.) Your baby’s cord will at some stage be cut. So what’s the big deal if it happens straight away or after it stops pulsing?

Since 1913 it has been common practice to clamp and cut the baby’s umbilical cord straight after birth. Usually within the first minute of life. This was because we mostly use what we call ‘active management’ of the placenta, where we inject you with a hormone called Syntocinon to help your uterus contract and to expel the placenta quicker. It was thought that if the cord stayed attached after this needle was given your baby would receive a HUGE rush of the blood that is in the placenta with this big contraction and the baby could become Jaundice or even compromised due to excess blood volume.

These days new research is coming out to show that in fact we may have been doing more harm than good by clamping the baby’s umbilical cord at this early stage. Most midwives and some Doctors knew that the blood in the placenta was completely safe for the baby, after all it is the baby’s blood anyway! So what we were actually doing by clamping the cord was depriving the baby of almost a third of its blood. Can you even imagine having a third of your blood removed from your body??? You would feel pretty terrible! You might be tired, grumpy, and pretty thirsty.

So what’s changed? Now days the word is spreading that it is COMPLETELY SAFE to leave the cord alone until it has stopped providing the baby with all its blood supply. This can take anywhere between 3-10 minutes with it normally stopping before 5 minutes.

What’s the benefit?

Your baby will receive all of its allocated blood supply! This includes a great oxygen supply that will help your baby take its first breath. In other words, while the umbilical cord is still attached to your baby and the placenta and remans unclamped your baby is still receiving a rich supply of oxygen by the blood circulating through the placenta and baby. It’s also receiving a great amount of stem cells. These help to prevent and repair damaged cells giving your baby the best start in life.

When you are going into the hospital or discussing your birth plan with your Midwife or Doctor let them know that you really want optimal/delayed cord clamping. Then as the mother, partner or support person, before you cut that cord, feel the cord to see if you can feel the pulses or if they have stopped. You can also see the difference in the cord when the blood has all been transfused into the baby. It will go from being nice and plump and blue to being floppy and white.

Check out this YouTube Video on Opitmal Cord Clamping:


(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).

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