Monday, November 05, 2007

Cord Clamping

Soon after a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped, and then cut. Research continues to show what many have long believed, that delayed cord clamping is beneficial to the infant. However, current obstetrical practice is to clamp the cord right away. As long as the cord is pulsing, the baby is continuing to receive blood and oxygen from the placenta. For babies who are born healthy and crying, it may not make much of an apparent difference. But for babies who do not breathe right away, clamping the cord means that they must breathe - or else be deprived of oxygen. Delayed clamping eases the baby's transition into the world. In fact, cutting the cord at birth is not necessary at all - the cord will clamp itself off when it stops functioning.

For research into cord clamping, try these sites:

Gentlebirth Archives - Perhaps the most comprehensive list of resources on cord clamping available, but you will also get about 50 different opinions. - Lots of good, technical info, but advocates the idea that premature cord clamping is responsible for autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and the fact that more women than men get college degrees. Also contains the archives of the now-defunct, oft-linked-to

Cochrane Review information on Cord Clamping in Preterm Infants, Cord Clamping in Term Infants, and Topical Cord Care.

Lotus Birth from

Lotus Birth from Wikipedia.

Umbilical Cord from Wikipedia.

And for the last word on the issue, a recent study published in the JAMA - Late vs Early Clamping of the Umbilical Cord in Full-term Neonates: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Controlled Trials (March 21, 2007):
Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord in full-term neonates for a minimum of 2 minutes following birth is beneficial to the newborn, extending into infancy. Although there was an increase in polycythemia among infants in whom cord clamping was delayed, this condition appeared to be benign.

No comments: