STOP!- Save the Umbilical Cord!!

It’s funny how you learn new things no matter how many times you may have done something.  With my first two pregnancies I never questioned or even thought of cord clamping and natural delivery of the placenta.  I actually never even thought of the placenta and don’t quite remember when it came out.  Little did I know.. I am not a doctor or a health expert but I think it is important to not take everything at face value just because it is done, we should research procedures on our own to make informed decisions. We all know how important the placenta is for the baby but have you ever really stopped to think for a sec.. when you’re pregnant youre body creates a whole NEW ORGAN to connect you to the growing baby inside of you (subhan allah).  There is so much about the placenta but I will discuss that in another post.  Back to the precious cord!

When a baby is born almost all over the world immediately the cord is clamped and the mother is injected with oxytocin to then deliver the placenta.  When you clamp the cord before it has stopped pulsating you are ridding the baby from all the rich source of blood supple that it still gets from the placenta.  Delaying the clamping also helps the baby transition into breathing since the blood supply it still gets is rich in oxygen.  Stem cell collection at birth has started to rise which may be a good thing (if a family member is ill, family history etc .. )but if you stop and think about it you are actually taking away those stem cells from the baby when the baby can benefit from those stem cells there and then at the time of birth if you delayed the clamping of the cord.  There is a concern that delayed clamping can cause jaundice, however there is researchthat shows that jaundice can be an important “oxidant/antioxidant defense system in newborn infants, exposing them to potent oxidative stress.  It is totally possible that physiological jaundice with a natural third stage is a normal part of developing a healthy system.”

Now obviously you can have this in your birth plan but the questions boils down to whether your hospital/Dr will be compliant.  I was lucky that my midwives are British trained midwives and were aware and comfortable with my choices.  When I birthed my son the midwife happily obliged and waited for the cord to stop pulsating.  Now if your Dr/hospital is not willing to wait till the cord stops pulsating (mine pulsated for about 10mins, some can go longer) then ask them how long they would be willing to allow it to pulsate for to get max. benefit (anything is better than an immediate clamp). This is all  assuming you will then be delivering the placenta naturally because if they inject you with oxytocin they will need to clamp the cord in order that the baby does not receive it.

Now below is a Delayed Cord Clamping Agreement that I had found online which I had attached to my birth plan the only problem is I can’t remember where I got it from to source it.  So I’m sorry for not being able to give you the source of the agreement but here it is anyways to benefit from it.

Delayed Cord Clamping Informed Choice Agreement


Delayed cord clamping is waiting to clamp the umbilical cord until after the placenta is born or after the cord stops pulsating. 


PROS:


Delaying the clamping or cutting of the umbilical cord after the birth of the baby allows the baby to have full access of the blood supply in the cord and placenta. Having access to this blood supply is an excellent source of oxygen especially when resuscitation is necessary. 


Delayed clamping/cutting also allows the baby more time to adjust to it’s new outside of womb environment. Many babies are born and do not breathe right away and slowly adjust to using their lungs. If the cord is clamped or cut right away it may force them to attempt to breathe without any gradual change to their  circulatory system.
  

There is a decreased risk of anemia as babies get an estimated 50 mg more of iron when they receive the extra blood in the cord and placenta. Iron is an essential mineral which facilitates the transportation of oxygen in the body. Iron is also important for neurological development. Many believe that this blood normally does belong to the baby and if they do not get this it is equivalent to a hemorrhage.


Leaving the cord intact also assists with proper detachment of the placenta later because the placenta is able to reduce it’s blood volume by draining through the cord to the baby approximately 90 mLs of blood. Uterine contractions will also continue to squeeze more blood to the baby and the cord will continue to pulsate while that blood is being transferred.


The baby also receives increased levels of maternal antibodies and things like stem cells. 
Studies have shown an increased strength with leaving the cord intact which can help with breastfeeding soon after the birth.


CONS:


Increase in jaundice about 3 days postpartum. Jaundice is a normal occurrence in newborns but is not usually seen in hospitals due to immediate clamping and cutting of the cord. Cords are also cut early in hospitals due to labor drugs used and not wanting those to reach the baby.


Reasons for early clamping and cutting:


1. Nuccal cord. If there is a tight cord around the baby’s neck that does not allow birth.


2. If family is desiring cord blood banking.


3. If the mom is on drugs, including labor drugs used in hospitals.


4. Short cord.


5. An emergency with mom.

*image source

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