Delayed Cord Clamping. Ask the Midwife. Missoula Birth

The umbilical cord… that beautiful lifeline between a mother and her babe, coiled strong, pulsing blood and life for only a brief period once the baby is earth side… deserves our attention and praise. The benefits of leaving this in tact after birth has been an easy one for me since day one. I’ve never worked under a midwife who felt it wasn’t the standard of golden care. I have advocated for clients to their OBs and even CNMs to leave it only to be met with opposition and have even seen some occlude the cord saying “yep, it’s in tact” but not allowing it to pulse to the baby. Times are changing on this tide though. Finally OBs, and CNMs are following better guidelines and we are moving towards a norm of letting that cord pulse or delayed cord clamping. Why would we even do this? My question is why would we ever have not done this? Some of benefits are things such as decreased rate of resuscitation. This is a no brainer for home birth workers. We resuscitate babies when needed but almost exclusively we leave that cord in tact while doing so. The oxygen rich blood is my personal “insurance policy” while I may be helping a baby along to take her first breaths providing oxygen rich blood to the baby during this time. It eases the transition in any baby, not just the ones who need some help. The iron stores are increases and a 50% decrease in anemia can be found in newborns. Increase in myelin for brain function, stem cells, red cells, immune cells are also happening in this time. There is a 30% higher blood volume found in infants… I mean it is their blood after all. A decreased rate of brain hemorrhage and a decreased need for blood transfusions are also found. Premature babies are needing these benefits even more so than a term babe!
This entire process takes approximately 5-15 minutes. When the baby is born, reach down and feel that cord, feel that powerful force coming through. Know you are not only allowing the natural process to take its course but also giving your baby a better start. These fleeting moments are for wiping your own brow, listening for the first cry, reaching down and welcoming a new person into your world… all as it should be in tact, together, transitioning to the next phase of your lives side by side instead of as one. Written by Ashley-Hinton Sharp- Licensed Homebirth Midwife.

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