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Biting the cord - Page 2

post #21 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qalliope View Post
Seriously? You're worried about the germs in the mother's own mouth? Somebody elses mouth or a sharp rock off the ground, okay. But, well, umm... okay I'm just dumbfounded by this one. You know where babies come out right? : I think harm in this scenario is incredibly unlikely. I understand that for a birth worker, sterility is important, but she's not birthing any baby but her own, and I guarantee she won't wear gloves to catch either! I'm having trouble seeing how the third world countries arguments are relevant to this situation, Beth, simply because the whole environment those women are birthing in is extremely unsanitary, as I believe was mentioned in a pp.


Dulce, your thinking on this seems pretty clear and reasonable to me in the context of a UC mindset. Part of the UC movement is questioning and discovering the actual physiological requirements of birth, as opposed to societal requirements. I think this is an interesting discussion regarding where that line belongs. I find it important to observe what other mammals and more primitive cultures do, since we are so far removed from our instinctual past.
Sorry, but I find your reasoning here bizarre. Why would the mother's mouth be different than someone else's mouth? Mouths are mouths.

I am not talking about birthing the baby in a "sterile environment" or being abnormally germ-a-phobic. There is a huge difference between comparing the birth canal that a baby passes through with a mouth severing the umbilical cord. In the latter, an infection is possible because the umbilical cord connects directly to their blood supply.

I really am indifferent about people's reasons for UC. I think its fantastic that we all have choices about how we birth our children. But undoubtably SOME research has to come into play here. In the 1800s, thousands of babies died from umbilical infections. This was decreased dramatically when it was recognized that hand washing, hygiene, etc. is important. And that was in the Western world, not a third world country. It appears that it had little to do with the environment, and more to do with dirty implements, hands, etc. coming in contact with the cord.

On the one hand, you are laughing at me for suggesting that some precautions be taken, yet you say the problem in Africa is "the whole environment those women are birthing in is extremely unsanitary."

So which is it? Is sanitation important or not?

Which is why I suggest this mother takes that into account and uses some sterile scissors to severe a blood pathway to her newborn. I fail to see how this is taking away any of the experience of birth for her.

XOXO
B
post #22 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qalliope View Post
Seriously? You're worried about the germs in the mother's own mouth? I'm just dumbfounded by this one. You know where babies come out right? I'm having trouble seeing how the third world countries arguments are relevant to this situation, Beth, simply because the whole environment those women are birthing in is extremely unsanitary, as I believe was mentioned in a pp.
We all know the baby comes into a dirty environment. But the dirt doesn't have a direct route in except in a "broken" cord. Third world countries are very relevant here as they're "dirty" cutting of the cord is causing infection.

Hence the reason babies' cords must be tied off or clamped securely before cutting. ANY bacteria on the tool, in the hands or in the mouth may or possibly WILL flush straight into the babies system through that cut cord the second it's cut.
post #23 of 81
The human mouth is supposed to have more bacteria then a dogs. I've read up to 500 different types of bacteria. I'd research it a little before you decide how or if to sever your baby's cord this way.

It's a good point that I hadn't thought about until it was brought up.
post #24 of 81
stone tools are not necessarily a problem- if you have a freshly chipped obsidian knife- it is going to be clean-- obsidian scalpels are used medically because of the fine lines they can cut and less inflammation - and you can boil an igneous rock- it can take heat fine--
do I think that a mouth has bacteria in it yep, and do I want to colonize my baby's cord stump with that flora - not for me , but I think that some people probably have good oral flora -- in the Foxfire books there are people who could breath into a baby's mouth and clear up thrush- so I think that their mouth flora is going to be fine-
my comments on tetanus have more to do with range of what can happen with cords-- in the places where they cut the cords "long" the stump is more susceptible to becoming infected with tetanus-- and tetanus as a problem has been greatly reduced even in the last 10 years- it can be prevented to some degree with topical antibacterial agents or atleast that is what the recent studies are saying- the push for the longest time has been toward vaccinating moms- because a mom will pass on immunity to her newborn--
post #25 of 81
I just can't figure out exactly what a mom with good hygeine and nutrition in a clean environment would be passing on through a limp, dead cord, possibly one that had even been tied off first. This is what I had envisioned, but maybe that's too big of an assumption. Of course I believe sanitation in general to be a valid issue. I'm just having trouble seeing this in particular to be overwhelmingly dangerous.
Quote:
Sorry, but I find your reasoning here bizarre. Why would the mother's mouth be different than someone else's mouth? Mouths are mouths.
There's not a difference between the mother's bacteria, and other people's when it comes to the babies exposure? Why do birthing attendants wear gloves? Wash their hands? It's not to limit exposure to foreign bacteria? I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I'm trying to figure out what I'm missing. I was planning on either lotus birth or cutting the cord with sterile scissors myself, and I'm not really encouraging anyone to bite or considering biting the cord myself. I would however like to continue the dialogue regarding the cave woman concept and how much of that adds to the safety/validity/empowerment/whatever aspects of uc and what takes away from it.

There's no studies on this that I can find anthropological, or scientific. And I've witnessed argument among midwives as to whether even the cord you tie with has to be sterilised. Some think it incredibly important, and some find it ridiculous.
Quote:
stone tools are not necessarily a problem- if you have a freshly chipped obsidian knife- it is going to be clean-- obsidian scalpels are used medically because of the fine lines they can cut and less inflammation - and you can boil an igneous rock- it can take heat fine--
That's pretty cool, but in the absence of obsidian, are there other clean options? Are traditional cultures still using these methods? I'm just curious.

Quote:
do I think that a mouth has bacteria in it yep, and do I want to colonize my baby's cord stump with that flora - not for me , but I think that some people probably have good oral flora -- in the Foxfire books there are people who could breath into a baby's mouth and clear up thrush- so I think that their mouth flora is going to be fine-
Ha! I do get that. I don't think my oral flora is nice enough to clear up thrush, myself.

Quote:
my comments on tetanus have more to do with range of what can happen with cords-- in the places where they cut the cords "long" the stump is more susceptible to becoming infected with tetanus-- and tetanus as a problem has been greatly reduced even in the last 10 years- it can be prevented to some degree with topical antibacterial agents or atleast that is what the recent studies are saying- the push for the longest time has been toward vaccinating moms- because a mom will pass on immunity to her newborn--
I apologize for taking your words out of context. However my point was that there are indeed other factors in play in the societies Beth mentioned. We're not just talking about one time contact of the stump with an unsanitary object in Africa or wherever else this is an issue. We're talking about prolonged exposure in unsanitary conditions with people just beginning to figure out what is involved and what will help.

I just think it was a bit unwarranted to jump to the conclusion that biting the cord = horrible infection risk without bringing in any other factors, such as when or how it is done.

With that in mind I have questions for Dulce. Were you considering tying it off first? I think it would be hard to bite it close to the baby. Would you leave it however long you bit it? or bite as a sort of ritual moment, and then tie and cut closer to baby later on?

I still find the concern about infection here overblown, but I could be wrong. I would love to see something more concrete that might change my mind.
post #26 of 81
Colonizing the newborn with helpful bacteria is one of the primary events that occur after birth Beth. That is done in many ways ~ through the poop (& traces of poop) that are present in the anus during birth, through the sucking on bacteria laden nipples, and through the mouth with kissing the newborn. The newborn baby is essentially sterile inside, and these healthy forms of newborn colonization are appropriate for infant health & survival. I see no real difference in the bacteria that may be transmitted in biting the cord vs just kissing the babe on the mouth. Which I do frequently.
post #27 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama in the forest View Post
I see no real difference in the bacteria that may be transmitted in biting the cord vs just kissing the babe on the mouth. Which I do frequently.
The former could enter directly into the bloodstream, the latter faces the barriers of the immune system.

It's why some people (for cardiac reasons) need antibiotics when undergoing dental work ... any bloodletting could allow oral bacteria into the bloodstream, where it doesn't have time to encounter the immune responses faced by other methods of entry.

It is an interesting subject, but again, I'm wondering the root reason of why the OP is ruminating over this.
Someone mentioned getting in touch with our instinctual ancestry (if I am taking it out of context I deeply apologize) but I feel like birthing the baby in your own dark quiet corner and then putting the child to your breast is as beautifully instictive as it gets. Are you wondering what you'd do if you were detached from civilization, far removed from the modern medical world? I still venture to say the cord would be one of the last things on your mind in that case. You'd probably leave it all intact.
On the other hand, unless you've got wireless internet connection deep in a dark misty forest (in which case, I'm jealous! ) then you have the advantages of the "modern medical world" which envelopes everything from sterile scissors to clamps to simple string -- any device that would restrict vascular access to the baby's side of things. (My husband is comfortable having his shoelace and his pocketknife on hand - I want a pretty pink ribbon!)

From my existentialist perspective, it would be more productive to evaluate the reasons why you ponder this question, rather than the incidentals and the mechanics of it.

I also want to mention that it is wonderful to have so many strong-minded women sharing their opinions in this place! I learn something new everyday from all of you!
post #28 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama in the forest View Post
I see no real difference in the bacteria that may be transmitted in biting the cord vs just kissing the babe on the mouth. Which I do frequently.
First of all, what Aunt G said is true and what I was trying to say before. There is a huge difference between direct bloodstream contact and going through the skin. If anyone has read VACCINATIONS: A Thoughtful Parents Guide by Aviva Jill Romm, there is a great explanation of how the immune system works. There are different immunoglobulins that are put into play when things come through the skin vs. bypassing this directly to the bloodstream. Which is why vaccines don't work in the same way as natural immunity. And why people who create vaccines are trying more closely to emulate the natural way by creating vaccines that work through the skin and mucous membranes(like FluMist and the old oral polio vaccine) rather than go with injections. But you don't want to get me started on vaccines As far as I'm concerned, my baby's bloodstream will be protected from artificial toxins directly entering it from crap laded vaccines or from crap from my mouth. It is not natural in my eyes to put dirt, junk, mercury, formaldehyde, etc. into a baby's bloodstream.

I don't mean to insult anyone, but I really don't understand why this ritual is so important. I understand getting back to nature. Or doing something from your culture. But trying to get information about what animals do, seems counterintuitive to me. My dog can eat rotten meat and poop and not get sick. My dog is different than me in many ways.

Mamaintheforest mentioned colonization from the anus during birth. However, the OP certainly should not rub the stump of the umbilical cord on her anus. This is a perfect example of how the skin barrier works completely differently than direct contact with the blood.

XOXO
B
post #29 of 81
Quote:
However, the OP certainly should not rub the stump of the umbilical cord on her anus. This is a perfect example of how the skin barrier works completely differently than direct contact with the blood.
Gross! : I would never think anyone would do such a thing.

I guess if I was worried about something entering the bloodstream of the newborn through the cord, I would be worried about the antimicrobial agents commonly used in hospitals just as much. (iodine, triple dye, alcohol, Silver sulphadiazine, chlorhexidine, etc...as well as even things used in home birthing such as goldenseal, gentian violet, etc.)

I don't think that the cord should be colonized with bacteria, (like the baby's gut) I'm just saying that the rigorous anti microbial efforts are a bit over the top. And I'm saying that in my opinion, I wouldn't be uncomfortable with biting the cord.
post #30 of 81
Quote:
I don't mean to insult anyone, but I really don't understand why this ritual is so important. I understand getting back to nature.
We're not saying it's so important. We're just having a discussion about it.
post #31 of 81
tetanus is not just from unclean conditions it is ever present more so in places that are moist and damp- like jungles but can be anywhere-- also it likes low oxygen- one of the more recent reports in the US of neonatal tetanus was a baby born to an unvaccinated mother -they put clay on the cord stump--clay will make a low oxygen seal and can help tetanus grow and it can have the spores in it -- it was clean kiln baked clay...
I listed a few other folk ways of dealing with the cord- one is to burn it - in areas where camphor grows they use a burning piece of camphor-- other places use fresh new grass the blades that are hidden from the environment but are sharp and used newly picked for the purpose. There are places where they pack cords with dung- probably because of flora and that it is dry- those places still have high incidence of tetanus. Something that I think about in this is that because of antibiotics and feed changes and all sorts of environmental changes- animal dung is not going to be what it use to be, there are old remedies for ring worm that included using dung that just don't work any more--
we have all sorts of antibacterial substances around us and we do use them often - it causes changes in our flora but it probably also prevents many possible infections
I did find a historic reference of biting the cord in China but they cover it with cloth before biting--
there are other infections besides tetanus- and if you have gum disease or lots of cavities, group b strep you might want to take pause when considering biting a cord-- I know that there was a push a while back to prevent cavities in babies by having moms chew gum while pregnant and postpartum the gum had xylitol in it that works similar to cranberry and blueberry in repelling certain bacteria -chewing it while pregnant helps to reduce the cavity forming flora and then in turn helps to keep baby free of those critters--
and yes wearing gloves has to do with protecting provider, mom and baby but then you get glove flora :
post #32 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama in the forest View Post
Gross! : I would never think anyone would do such a thing.
Sorry, didn't mean to gross you out. Just trying to point out the difference.

I totally understand your POV. I guess I just wanted to underscore the importance of looking into certain things. Not just going totally on intuition and what seems like it would be fine in your own mind.

When it comes to birthing positions, listening to your body, etc. it ABSOLUTELY makes sense to listen to your intuition. However, I think its important to not get carried away to the point where you are making some decisions that could potentially be dangerous because it seems logical to you.

Back in the day, it seems totally logical to do surgery with unclean hands. People didnt know about germs. While birth has become completely medicalized in this country and many things are done without reason or benefit (episiotomy being a great example), some things came about for a good reason.

I guess my point is that I think its completely valid and important to question things about routine birth in this country, but part of that questioning should involve research. Not just asking some people on a message board and going with opinions and feelings.

Again, I'm not trying to insult or point fingers here. I just get nervous when people say it seems like a good idea to them. Or it seems "logical" but there is no research done into WHY things are done now with sterile scissors, etc. Because UC is relies a lot on intuition, It appears to me that sometimes intuition becomes a guiding factor to the exclusion of facts :

As a mom who does not vax, planned a homebirth, etc. I have absolutely made some choices that are not part of the routine. But I read stacks and stacks of books before making those choices. To me this is only responsible.

Again, I do not intend to imply that the OP wasn't going to do that. Merely trying to caution others about casually giving opinions on something without facts. I think its important that we all stay safe on these journeys into mamahood.

XOXO
Beth
post #33 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by BethSLP View Post
Because UC is relies a lot on intuition, It appears to me that sometimes intuition becomes a guiding factor to the exclusion of facts :
Actually, I seriously question whether this has anything to do with intuition at all. It seems to me that these choices about cords are entirely intellect based. If a mama gives birth, and then gets a strong urge to chew the cord - fine. But let's not mistake a thought - it seems more natural to chew the cord - for intuition. Things my intuition has told me after a birth - hold baby, love baby, clean up, *eat a sandwhich*!!
post #34 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bluefish View Post
Things my intuition has told me after a birth - hold baby, love baby, clean up, *eat a sandwhich*!!
post #35 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntG View Post
It's why some people (for cardiac reasons) need antibiotics when undergoing dental work ... any bloodletting could allow oral bacteria into the bloodstream, where it doesn't have time to encounter the immune responses faced by other methods of entry.
Just a note on that- "they" have actually really, really, REALLY relaxed the guidelines of this. I had to have antibiotics during any dental work my whole life (congential aortic stenosis), until I saw my cardiologist 2 weeks ago and asked him about it (because I had them at my first birth) and he said absolutely not, and not during dental work either. He said the change in protocol had happened within the last few weeks actually.
post #36 of 81
I'm sorry if this sounds rude or whatnot, but I actually felt sick just thinking about biting an umbilical cord! LOL I just wouldn't be able to do it. I know people eat their placentas and all that good stuff, but the closest I'd get is to dry my placenta and put it in capsules and take them that way... and my DH and family think that's gross. So, hey, guess we all have our Gross out's!
post #37 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by BethSLP View Post
I guess I just wanted to underscore the importance of looking into certain things. Not just going totally on intuition and what seems like it would be fine in your own mind.

When it comes to birthing positions, listening to your body, etc. it ABSOLUTELY makes sense to listen to your intuition. However, I think its important to not get carried away to the point where you are making some decisions that could potentially be dangerous because it seems logical to you.

Back in the day, it seems totally logical to do surgery with unclean hands. People didnt know about germs. While birth has become completely medicalized in this country and many things are done without reason or benefit (episiotomy being a great example), some things came about for a good reason.

I guess my point is that I think its completely valid and important to question things about routine birth in this country, but part of that questioning should involve research. Not just asking some people on a message board and going with opinions and feelings.

Again, I'm not trying to insult or point fingers here. I just get nervous when people say it seems like a good idea to them. Or it seems "logical" but there is no research done into WHY things are done now with sterile scissors, etc. Because UC is relies a lot on intuition, It appears to me that sometimes intuition becomes a guiding factor to the exclusion of facts :

As a mom who does not vax, planned a homebirth, etc. I have absolutely made some choices that are not part of the routine. But I read stacks and stacks of books before making those choices. To me this is only responsible.

Again, I do not intend to imply that the OP wasn't going to do that. Merely trying to caution others about casually giving opinions on something without facts. I think its important that we all stay safe on these journeys into mamahood.
(moderator hat off)

To give birth unassisted, IMO, is not without risk (as birth is inherently "risky," as is life). It can feel patronizing, however, to be told to research sterilization or don't get so carried away that you forget logic and facts. Science and research definitely have their place Sometimes it can feel as if people are trying to save us from ourselves, and this isn't such a good feeling

I think many people would be surprised at the sheer amount of research, fact seeking, etc. done by mothers who choose UC. We are each responsible for our own choices, and this is especially true with UC. Everyone has different comfort levels and varying needs that must be met in order to feel 'safe.' While those who do not choose UC may fear fearful or nervous about this particular birth choice/path, every mother I've known who has chosen UC has been/is quite confident. I hope that I can assuage your fears when I say that I'm willing to bet that every mama who participates in here is highly concerned about safety and isn't acting soley on emotion or instinct or a flight of fancy just because.

I believe that every woman must do what feels right, safe and empowering to her. However she reaches that decision

post #38 of 81
I do think primitive peoples severed the cord in some way, most likely waiting until it was good an not-pulsing anymore (which, IMO, reduces blood exposure.)

I did want to add one thing. A loooooooong time ago I saw some rescue 911/amazing births type show where the woman had the baby on the side of the road and a cop showed up a few minutes later. The baby was fine. The cop cut the cord with his knife (ewwwww) and the baby ended up with a blood infection/sepsis. I don't know any details about how long the baby had been out (except it had been a few minutes), if the cord was pulsing or not, if the cord was tied or not, etc. They did go to the hospital right after that (because that was their origional goal) and I am *sure* the cord was taken care of with all kinds of anti-microbial whatnots. The baby got very sick because germs can and do enter the umbilical line. In the wild the mom probably wouldn't have cut the cord ASAP like that cop thought was necessisary. The family was thanking that cop. Um, HE almost killed your baby. . .you'd been better off alone.
post #39 of 81
Quote:
I don't know any details about how long the baby had been out (except it had been a few minutes), if the cord was pulsing or not, if the cord was tied or not, etc.
You can bet that it was cut as soon as they were able to take the knife to it.

Quote:
To give birth unassisted, IMO, is not without risk (as birth is inherently "risky," as is life). It can feel patronizing, however, to be told to research sterilization or don't get so carried away that you forget logic and facts. Science and research definitely have their place Sometimes it can feel as if people are trying to save us from ourselves, and this isn't such a good feeling
post #40 of 81
So ... the "official", sterile clamp costs $1.25 in case anybody wondered.
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