When To Cut The Cord

3 Replies
Atira36 - February 27

I have read a few articles lately about the timing of cutting the umbilical cord. Some research has suggested that it's best to wait for it to stop pulsating before cutting the cord. I am not sure how long that takes or how common a practice this is. Has anyone waited longer than normal to have the cord cut or are you planning on doing this? I worry that if I include this in my birth plan that it might be an issue b/c the doctor would have to stick around longer. Any input?


SaraH - February 27

Hi, Atira. I asked if anyone knew much about this a couple weeks ago and didn't end up w/ very many responses. I've done a really minimal amount of research on it so I don't feel like I know a whole lot but this is what I do know. Delayed cord cutting does seem to have benefits and little/if any possible drawbacks. One of the main benefits is that it boost the babies iron levels, and blood count, helping to prevent anemia. Some newer studies also seem to indicate that it helps reduce the likely hood that premature babies will have bleeding in their brains, will need a blood transfusion, and that the increased amount of blood in the babies body helps ensure that it's bp and iron levels are better off. As far as draw backs I haven't seen anything that was substantiated in any of the things I looked at, only that a few doc are concerned that prehapps a baby could end up w/ "too much" blood (however as I said nothing that I saw and none of the studies I read seems to support that at all, but only ended up proving that it might actually be beneficial to wait -even when I did a search on the 'harm of delayed cord cutting' the only articles that came up were in supported of delaying it.). Many midwives and more "natural" birth consultants also believe that waiting to cut the cord is the best. It is not standard practice, however, for medical doctors to wait, unless the parents have specified that they want it delayed. I asked the women who taught my prenatal cla__s about it a few weeks ago as she is a doula (labor coach) and she is all for it. She said that the doc's here will wait if asked, but to really make sure that my dh was paying attention to insure that the doc remembered to actually wait at the time of birth. Also, one of the girls who did respond when I asked about it on here, said she was surprised that doc's don't wait b/c they'd been told in their paramedic training that you don't cut the cord until it has stopped pulsating. As far as we go my dh and I talked about it and have decided that as we want as natural a birth process as possible, that delaying the cord clamping and cutting sounded like a good idea. We aren't going to specifically ask that it wait to be cut until it stops pulsating, but we do want to wait at least a couple of minutes (which according to some of what I've read a minute or two is enough to have a lot of the benefits). I'm going to talk to my doc at my next appointment about it for sure though, and see just how long she is willing to wait. If she is okay with waiting until the cord stops pulsating we may wait that long, otherwise I will specifically ask for at least a couple minute delay. To me it really only seem logical and practical to wait. 30%-50% of the babies blood is in the cord and if you clamp and cut it right away, it makes sense that the baby is going to be short on it's blood supply for awhile. It also makes sense to me to wait a minute or two as the baby needs to switch to "breathing" w/ it's lungs, and by not clamping and cutting right away you're giving it a little bit of time to make this adjustment. Also (although I have nothing to back this up) logically I would think that centuries ago they probably didn't cut the cord as soon as the baby popped out. They didn't have the medical stuff we do now, and I would a__sume that they didn't always have twine and a knife right there on hand to tie and cut the cord ASAP after the baby was born. Anyways, if you're not banking the cord blood or donating it, to me it makes sense to wait for a few minutes, and hey everyone keeps talking about cord blood and how beneficial it is, so if your not planning on doing anything w/ it why not give it to the baby when it's born? Anyways, that's my opinion on it, although as I said I'm far from being an expert on the topic. If you're interested do a Google search on "delayed cord cutting," on "delayed cutting of the umbilical cord," and "benefits of delayed cord cutting," and you should come up w/ a bit of info. Good luck. ---oh by the way, I do know that occasionally they need to cut the cord right away, as issues such as the cord being extremely short can make it hard to delay it.


SaraH - February 27

-wow, sorry I didn't mean to post a whole book


Atira36 - February 28

Thanks Sara for sharing the research that you did. I too plan on discussing it with my doctor next week. I will include it in my birth plan on the "wish list" but realize that due to possible complications such as a c-section, that it might not be practical. It does seem to make sense to wait though, doesn't it?



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