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.

Ask the Midwife- Missoula- Birth

Missoula Homebirth midwifery 
Birth Photographer Missoula Montana

Missoula Midwife- Ashley Hinton-Sharp- of Heart- Strong Midwifery

Once the baby is born she is still getting oxygenated blood from the placenta. The beautiful placenta pulses and continues functioning for 5-15 minutes on average giving time for our sweet baby to take her first breath. Once she does that – lung expansion occurs, fluid is pushed out of the lungs. the ductus arteriosis and foramen ovale shut and blood flows through a path of least resistance much like adult hearts. I call the going from fish to frog. This all occurs quite rapidly, the baby turning from blue to pink usually within a breath or two, sometimes longer. Often extremities can remain blue and it is of no concern. The flushing of blue to pink is magical thing to see. It happens as quickly as a rainbow appears or disappears. I will admit I almost never see the actual act of the chameleon like switch as I’m holding the job down on many fronts in this moment but if you are lucky enough to catch it…it’s quite amazing, a miracle. It is usually the moment where my own heart falls in comfort of reassurance, hope and promise.

Missoula Woman- Family & Birth

Megan found me on Instagram- searching home birth hashtags for Missoula. When we consulted I was blown away by her fierce energy to have the birth experience she felt best for her self and her baby. She was this petite bubbly, messy bunned mama on the screen of my computer bursting with energy and chatter in the most positive light.
She was planning on a home birth. She talked with such conviction, such confidence, self love, reasonable expectations based on thorough birth research- I couldn’t help but be left with a tingling excitement for HER and myself- that I was being invited to witness her birth story.
I get to call Megan my friend. We have had countless birth aware and birth justice conversations over food and coffee dates. We have hiked together, laughed, cried, adventured, created art. I love her little family. I had the honor of photographing her first and now second birth stories. Megan is a lover, a lover of birth and women’s birth rights, lover of hard work, her husband and babies- you can see in her eyes and gorgeous dimpled smile she has a pure joy for life. She is a cup filler. Her children are lucky to have her. Our community is lucky to know her.