Birthowl’s natural childbirth


On Clamping the Cord
Clamping the umbilical cord immediately following birth is standard procedure in American hospitals. What much of the general population does not know is that there are very sound reasons for NOT clamping the umbilical cord immediately.
Early cord tying/clamping is a recent invention . It is neither natural, normal, evolutionary or historical. The debate on cord clamping dates back at least to 1801, when Erasmus Darwin noted that it would be “very injurious” to tie “the navel-string” too soon and urged that clamping be delayed until the infant has breathed repeatedly and all cord pulsation ceased.
Early cord clamping is an intervention in a natural process. There is NO evidence to support that early cord clamping is beneficial. Humans are the only placental mammals who routinely clamp the cord. Many bite the cord and eat the placenta.George M. Morley, MB., CH. B writes “If cord clamping is delayed to permit normal placental transfusion, the need for newborn transfusion often could be eliminated.
The cord tie is viewed as insurance against blood loss after the vessels have closed. Fear of late clamping persists because physicians have been conditioned to believe that complications such as jaundice, plethora, hyperviscosity, and polycythemia are caused by placental over-transfusion.
Many neonatal morbidities such as the hyperviscosity syndrome, infant respiratory distress syndrome, anemia, and hypovolemia correlate with early clamping. To avoid injury in all deliveries, especially those of neonates at risk, the cord should not be clamped until placental transfusion is complete.

The World Health Organization states (Care in Normal Birth: A Practical Guide) “Late clamping (or not clamping at all) is the physiological way of treating the cord, and early clamping is an intervention that needs justification.”Dr. M. Jeffrey Maisels says “If the cord is not clamped, the placenta gives the infant the equivalent of 20 cc of blood per kilogram of body weight within these first 3 minutes. This placental transfusion in the normal infant is equivalent to the amount of blood given to an infant in profound shock.

When cords are not clamped early, the third stage of labor is one-third shorter and the total mean blood loss after delivery is substantially less than when cords are clamped early. This might be because when cords are not clamped, the placenta is allowed to give up its volume of blood. It thereby contracts and separates more easily from the uterine wall.

    It is wise to think of the placenta as one of the baby’s organs. What rational human being would even consider amputating a live organ when waiting just an hour or so will cause it to expire naturally?

    What you can do: If you are planning a hospital birth, discuss with your physician your wish of delayed clamping. Most medical practitioners are not educated about the function of the umbilical cord after birth, and you may end up having to do some education in order to see that your baby gets the best care.

    Regardless of their rules, you have absolute legal right to say what does and does not happen to your baby. You need to make your wishes clear and if your doctor is unwillingly to assist your needs, you may want to re-evaluate your choice of a physician.

    This issue is easier to handle when having a home birth, but be sure to make your wishes clear to your midwife. Do not assume that the cord will not be immediately clamped. And of course if you are having an unassisted birth, you need only do what you choose! [www.gentlebirth.org]

    What is Lotus Birth? Lotus birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to his/her placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus – exactly as a cut cord does – at 3 to 10 days after birth. This prolonged contact can be seen as a time of transition, allowing the baby to slowly and gently let go of his/her attachment to the mother’s body.

    [Photo by Dr. Cornellius]

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