The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


Five Good Reasons to Delay Clamping the Cord

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

by Gloria Lemay

Here's some of the thoughts and ideas I have gleaned over the year s about leaving the umbilical cord to pulse until it stops.

  1. Leaving the cord to pulse does "no harm" and therefore should be encouraged. If you can think about what Nature intended, our ancestors way back before scissors and clamps were invented must have had to wait to deal with the cord/placenta until the placenta was birthed. They probably chewed it, ground it with rocks, or burned it through with hot sticks from the fire. The little teeth on the clamps indicate the traumatizing of the vessels is necessary to quell bleeding.
  2. Leaving the cord to pulse slows down the "fire drill" energy that many birth attendants get into after the baby is born. Leaving off the busyness of midwifery for a half hour allows the mother and baby undisturbed bonding time without a "project " going on i.e. the cord cutting instructions, explanations, jokes, etc. The father, too , is undisturbed and able to enjoy this "high" time without focusing on a job at hand.
  3. Educator Joseph Chilton Pierce in his book "Magical Child" makes ref to studies that were done on primates who gave birth in captivity and had early cord clamping. Autopsies of the primates showed that early cord clamping produced unusual lesions in the brains of the animals. These same lesions were also found in the brains of human infants when autopsied.
  4. In Rh neg women, many people believe that it is the clamping of a pulsing cord that causes the blood of the baby to transfuse into the blood stream of the mother causing sensitization problems. Robert S Mendelsohn, M.D., in his book "How to Have a Healthy Child. . . In Spite of Your Doctor" blames the whole Rh neg problem on too quick clamping of the cord. Especially in Rh neg mothers I urge midwives to wait until the placenta is out before thinking about cord clamping.
  5. I think it is interesting that scientists are now discovering that umbilical cord blood is full of valuable T-cells which have cancer fighting properties. A whole industry has sprung up to have this precious blood extracted from the placenta, put in a cooler with dry ice, and taken to a special storage facility to be ready in case the child gets cancer at some time in the future. This is human insanity of the first order. That blood is designed by Nature to go into that child's body at birth, not 30 yrs later! We need to acknowledge that there are things about the newborn circulation and blood composition that we just don't know and we need to bet that Mother Nature had things figured out pretty well for us to survive this long. Maybe the supposed need for Vitamin K in the newborn comes out of early cord clamping?
In my work (800 births), I have only given Vit K to one baby (on Day 8 after having blood on the umbilicus every day < l tsp.--it was probably unnecessary). I have only had one Rh neg woman who showed fetal cells in her blood (she had had a bad fall 2 days prior to birth). We have waited hours before cutting the cord and one couple never did cut it (just carried baby, cord and placenta around together for days). The nice thing about that was that it really limited the postpartum visitors list! This is called Lotus Birthing and Jeannine Parvati Baker, a midwife from Ca.,is the goddess of that method (author of Prenatal Yoga and Hygiea).

The only time I cut a cord before the placenta comes out is if I have a mother in a water tub and I'm worried about blood loss. Then you have to get both out onto a dry surface quickly and it's easier to hand baby over to an adult while Mom is lifted separately.

If the baby needs resuscitation, it is important to leave the cord and do all work on Mom's body. Cutting the back up oxygen supply doesn't make any sense at all.

This Web page is referenced from other pages containing related information about For Parents - How to Get the Best Care and Umbilical Cord Issues


SEARCH gentlebirth.org

Main Index Page of the Midwife Archives

Main page of gentlebirth.org         Mirror site

Please e-mail feedback about errors of fact, spelling, grammar or semantics. Thank you.

Permission to link to this page is hereby granted.
About the Midwife Archives / Midwife Archives Disclaimer