I’ve recently been having some discussions about the various advantages of leaving the umbilical cord intact until it finished pulsating. It seems that there are still many women who are not aware that they have a choice in this matter (i.e. that with a physiological birth, the cord doesn’t need to be immediately clamped and cut…and indeed even with some interventive births this can apply!).
I just watched a lovely video clip on this blogsite (it’s the first video on the page, entitled We Can Be Much Kinder…it’s about 7 minutes long). I really recommend you have a look…it has quite a long bit about the advantages of leaving the cord to finish pulsating. Briefly, the benefits of what we call a “physiological third stage” (mum is not given an injection of Syntometrine to deliver the placenta – it seems many women are also unaware that they have a choice as to whether to have this injection or not – and cord is left to stop pulsating before being clamped and cut) include:
- Baby benefits from receiving a supply of blood from the placenta (when babies come through the birth canal, a lot of blood is shunted back to the placenta as baby squeezes through…when baby is born, the pulsating cord and the position of baby on the mother’s chest enables the baby to replenish it’s blood supply)
- This blood also contains clotting factors, which may help prevent Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (M. Cranford, Midwifery Today, Issue 98, Summer 2011)
- Baby benefits from oxygen coming from the placenta, which gives baby a bit of time to learn to use it’s lungs
- On a simple note, it offers mother and baby quiet, undisturbed bonding time after the birth, while baby remains connected to its mother via the umbilical cord and perhaps facilitating baby’s transition into the big wide world