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When to cut the cord

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My sister is due in 2 months and asked me about when to have the cord cut. Could any of you tell me the benefits of waiting until it stops pulsing and how long does that take? Do you nurse still attatched? Are hospitals generally receptive to the practice? Thanks
post #2 of 14
The major benefit to waiting for the pulsing to stop is the stem cells that are delivered to the new baby. These cells are a *HOT* commodity and the hospital is NOT, NOT, NOT happy about waiting for them to go to your baby. I discovered this the hard way, Hannah's cord was cut too early for my liking, my aunt found the nurse "milking" the cord from the placenta and asked several times before getting the truth ~ she was harvesting the stem cells (to be sold to cancer victims for high $$). DH was diagnosed with cancer by the time Hayden was born and boy did I understand the value (both monetary and health-wise) of stem cells. Though we waited for the pulsing to end before cutting the cord, they still harvested some remaining cells to be sold. It is very very important that your baby remain *hooked up* also because of the oxygen still being delivered via the cord, especially if there is any breathing issues at birth. It is silly to me that the first thing done to a distressed baby is to remove the natural form of life support, first thing. Ah, the advancement of medicine!

~diana ild

Edited to answer the other questions: It took about 10(?) minutes for the cord to stop pulsing, and I did nurse Hayden while his cord was still attached (it really helped me endure the contractions required to expel the placenta)
post #3 of 14
We waited until the cord stopped pulsing before having it clamped with both our daughters. Learned about it in Bradley classes but the specifics escape me right now. I like the explanation the last poster gave! I thought about it like this - if that blood/cells/whatever is so valuable and helpful as to be "banked" for use in cancer patients, couldn't my baby getting it (it is hers after all) possibly help her from having cancer in the first place?
Dd1 was born in the hospital with a nurse-midwife six years ago. They had no problem with our request to wait to clamp. I didn't see anyone messing with the cord after but I suppose it could have happened - I was pretty busy looking at my baby!
Dd2 was born at a freestanding birth center with a certified midwife two years ago. Again, no problem - I think they usually wait to clamp there. We nursed right away so yes, the cord was not clamped then.
If your sister is having a doctor/hospital birth, there may be more "fighting" to have it done her way. If she is having a midwife in or out of hospital, she should probably have no problems. Smart of her to think about this now.
post #4 of 14
I agree with what ya'll said.

Don't know much about hospital policy.

Thought you might be interested in the Lotus Birth info - where you don't cut the cord but allow it to fall off by itself. Takes between 2-7 days. Also, some folks don't tie the cord, but cut the placenta off, and the stubb falls off in the same time frame.

There's some details about the value of the placenta, etc. Reading some birth regression accounts, some babies consider the placenta their friend or sibling. So, even if you don't go all out for lotus birth, the information is interesting.

Lotus Birth

MF Lotus

btw, that bit about harvesting the stem cells from babies shortly after birth makes me - I've been watching A Baby Story - but I've gotta stop, and they sometimes cut the cord before the baby is even out of the mom! Even if they aren't removing it from around the neck...And they certainly don't wait until it's stopped plusing or the placenta is delivered. Breastfeeding while the placenta is still attached to the baby and mom helps expel the placenta and cause the uterus to close back down, so those contrax stop... I've heard a few people say their cord wasn't long enough for the baby to reach the breast while the placenta was still inside. I think that's rare.

post #5 of 14
FWIW, we seem to have alot of cords that are not long enough for mom to nurse babe. Maybe 1 in 10? I dunno why, it doesn't make biological sense, but there you have it.

I find that the cord stops pusating usually in a couple of minutes. You can actually SEE the difference...when the babe comes, the cord looks all big and the vessels are prominant...and then after a couple of minutes, the cord looks much smaller, the vessels are not nearly as visible...I think the blood flow is minimal at best then, and that is an appropriate time to cut the cord.

It helps to remind your caregiver RIGHT before the birth to not clamp or cut the cord. I had it in my birth plan, but the doc just automatically clamped it. As she did it I said "NO! Don't clamp it!" but it was too late, she had already snapped it into place. She looked like she felt kind of bad, and said that she was sorry, she just did it out of habit. SOOO, if your babycatcher routinely clamps the cord after birth, remind them to wait.
post #6 of 14
You can wait until it stops pulsating, thus allowing your baby to get the very last of their blood, oxygen, etc... that is left in the cord and placenta.

There is also, usually, enough left to have harvested and Banked for YOU. That way if your child should get seriously ill, heaven forbid, you have thier own stem cells on call.
post #7 of 14
The part of the stem-cell harvesting that really, really bothers me is that the hospital makes a whole lot o'money from our babies' stem cells ~ there's no discount given to the mom who *dontates* it, but they will charge *YOU* an arm and a leg to save it for the time you may need it in the future?? :

post #8 of 14

length of cord

Originally posted by lorijds
FWIW, we seem to have alot of cords that are not long enough for mom to nurse babe. Maybe 1 in 10? I dunno why, it doesn't make biological sense, but there you have it.

Could it be the positioning of the placenta? Perhaps if it is at the top of the uterus, combined with a slightly shorter cord, it would result in the cord not allowing the babe to reach all the way up to the breast.

Just a theory.

post #9 of 14
Lorijds, I'm curious what position those moms are in when they try to get the baby to the breast? I've noticed that I can't reach unless I am sitting up and leaning forward a bit.
post #10 of 14
When DD was born we clamped/cut the cord after the placenta was passed (this was only 10 mins in my case, but we intended to do it that way however long it took). DD seemed to have quite a short cord and was really only just able to make it onto my lower belly without tugging at the cord, certainly not to the breast. I delivered her standing up, my midwife passed her through my legs to me and then I sat on the ground and was sort of leaning back a bit on a bean bag but pretty hunched over her and there was no way she was getting to the breast. I was actually very relieved to find her cord was short as she was always SO active that I had regular fears of her knotting her cord if it was long enough. The last scan I had was at 20 weeks and my placenta was pretty high then, I don't know for sure if it stayed there but I assume it did.
post #11 of 14
The book Birth Without Violence talks about the cord cutting issue. Dr. Leboyer (sp?) explains how cutting the cord early forces the baby to breathe in air before it is ready. By allowing the cord to continue to deliver oxygen, the baby can gradually begin to breathe air and adapt. This would seem to be less stressful and painless, where the early clamping might explain some of the crying, in his opinion. Makes sense to me. We waited at the homebirth of ds and I nursed him immediately. Planning to do the same this time! Dawn
post #12 of 14
My first dd had the cord wrapped tightly around her neck (left bruises) so we had to cu it before she was out. Second and third both had short cords and both had placenta at the top of my uterus. Dd #3 we waited for the cord to stop pulsing but when it did she started going blue and floppy so they had to cut it and get her breathing (which still took quite a while). then after that they were still able to easily harvest stem cells. I know one of the benifits is that some babies just take a little longer to start breathing and it isn't a crisis if they are still getting oxogyn from the cord. My midwife has had a baby who went 20 minutes without breathing but was fine because he was still getting oxogyn from the cord. He would have died if she clamped his cord right away. Or at least they would have had to do invasive heroic life saving procedures to help him live.
post #13 of 14
Well, the cord being cut and clamped right away can be quite painful/stressful for the baby. It forces them to scream/cry right away, and it is painful to enter life forced to take a humungous gulp of air before you're ready to. Many babies need a minute or two of adjustment before they are ready to receive ALL of their oxygen via their lungs.
On a side note, I had a homebirth with both my babes. #2 was born a bit blue and limp. Had some doctor cut the cord right away, he probably would have needed some serious and potentially damaging rescusitation. But since he was still receiving some oxygen through the cord, we used gentle stimulation - ie, mouth puffs and rubbing - to get him to come around on his own. Worked like a charm THEN we cut the cord, when he established breathing on his own.
post #14 of 14
I read something about cutting the cord too early also having some connection to the vitamin K issue, i.e. that may be why babies are low on vitamin K. Does anyone know more about this?
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