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.
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. [Editor's Note - Some midwives say that
if you delay cutting the cord until an hour or so after the birth, there
will be no bleeding at all from the stump.]
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Jeanine Parvati
Baker, a midwife from Ca.,is the goddess of that method (author of
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.