[back] Cord Clamping

The below chapter is excerpted IN ADVANCE OF PUBLICATION from Jock Doubleday's eBook, "Spontaneous Creation: 101 Reasons Not to Have Your Baby in a Hospital, volume 2."

Volume 1 (not Volume 2) of the eBook above is currently available, by tax-deductible donation only (no minimum!), from the California 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc. www.SpontaneousCreation.org

Chapter 74 - You don't want your baby's umbilical cord cut too soon.

"I began to notice that often babies who were very quiet would begin to cry when their cord was cut. They would be very distressed, sometimes crying for more than 30 minutes. The question arose: "Does the baby know about its placenta?" and "Does the cutting of the cord hurt it?" There is now a growing body of evidence to support the view that babies do, indeed, have full awareness at birth (unless they are drugged) and that they do feel pain."---- Shivam Rachana, Lotus Birth

"To sever the umbilicus when the child has scarcely left the mother's  womb in an act of cruelty whose ill effects are immeasurable. To conserve it intact while it still pulses is to transform the act of birth." -----Frederick Leboyer, Birth Without Violence

After birth, between a fourth and a third of your baby's oxygenated blood remains in your placenta for up to ten minutes. If you give birth in the hospital, your baby is virtually certain not to receive this blood.

Without your consent (informed or otherwise), your obstetrician will cut your baby's umbilical cord the moment he emerges from the birth canal, putting your newborn into a state of oxygen deprivation and circulatory shock.

Upon questioning, your doctor may offer any of the following reasons for ignoring the prime wisdom of the Hippocratic Oath and performing this travesty of medicine: 1) He's in a hurry; 2) Whether or not your baby receives his extra blood is irrelevant; 3) Your cold baby needs to be taken to the baby warming station or the newborn nursery immediately.

The first "reason" may be true, but it is not reasonable. The second  "reason" is neither reasonable nor true. Your baby needs all the blood nature intended. The third "reason" contains a grain of truth -- your baby needs to be kept warm --but as many studies have shown, your own loving arms are the best infant warmers on the market. (See Reason #94, "You love the kangaroo in you.") Your baby's umbilical cord is long enough for you to hold and breastfeed your baby with the cord intact.

But your obstetrician is not interested in science. He lives in myth. In your OB's mind, cutting the cord immediately is "good" because, well, because it is good. "Just because" is the real "reason" behind immediate cord cutting.

When your doctor cuts the cord, your baby will gasp for breath before his nasal passages have naturally drained their mucous and amniotic fluid. He will be held by the heels and pounded on the upper back to expel a possible mucous-plug. Your baby's loss of blood sets the stage for cold stress, infant jaundice, iron deficiency (iatrogenic anemia) for up to ten months after birth, erythroblastosis (Rh disease) in a subsequent child, and delayed maternal placental expulsion, which again sets the stage for maternal hemorrhage when your doctor jerks on the umbilical cord stump to remove your placenta (see Reason #5, "You don't want to hemorrhage").

Deprived of between one-fourth and one-third of his rightful blood, your baby's brain cells, starved for oxygen, will begin to die. As W.F. Windle clearly demonstrated in his experiments that led to the Scientific American article, "Brain damage by asphyxia at birth," brain damage is the inevitable result. (See Reason #76, "You don't want your baby to be brain damaged.") Even if your obstetrician waits to cut the cord until it stops pulsing,  he will still be cutting too early. Even when blood going back to the placenta stops flowing (pulsing), nonpulsing blood going from the placenta into your baby is still flowing.

In his landmark book Birth Without Violence, Frederick Leboyer writes:

"[Nature] has arranged it so that during the dangerous passage of birth, the child is receiving oxygen from two sources rather than one: from the lungs and from the umbilicus. Two systems functioning simultaneously, one relieving the other: the old one, the umbilicus, continues to supply oxygen to the baby until the new one, the lungs, has fully taken its place. However, once the infant has been born and delivered from the mother, it remains bound to her by this umbilicus, which continues to beat for several long minutes: four . . . five .. . sometimes more. Oxygenated by the umbilicus, sheltered from anoxia, the baby can settle into breathing without danger and without shock. At leisure. .. . In addition, the blood has plenty of time to abandon its old route (which leads to the placenta) and progressively to fill the pulmonary circulatory system. During this time, in parallel fashion, an orifice closes in the heart, which seals off the old route forever. In short, for an average of four or five minutes, the newborn infant straddles two worlds. Drawing oxygen from two sources, it switches gradually from the one to the other, without a brutal transition. One scarcely hears a cry. What is required for this miracle to take place? Only a little patience."

Patience is precisely the ingredient that is missing in hospital birth. There is no time for patient birth in the hospital. Hospital beds must be "turned over" for the birth machine to be adequately fed. If waiting occurs, it is not patient waiting but anxious waiting, "hurry up and birth" waiting. Your obstetrician, will not simply stand there holding your squirming, slippery baby in his hands. He has things to do, and the baby needs to be washed, weighed, vaccinated, PKU tested, Apgar rated, temporarily blinded by silver nitrate, and bottlefed with unscientifically formulated formula. The nurses are waiting for him to give your baby to them, so he can be isolated from human touch and observed for signs of malfunction. Your baby is, after all, simply a machine that either works or doesn't: neither love nor respect enters the hospital birth equation.

Your doctor does not hesitate. The cord is cut, your baby's life-blood flows. All is well.  The birth machine has created the baby product and will bill accordingly. The obstetrician on duty can go back to his office and meet with other potential baby producers. Nurses can take their little bundle of joy to the newborn nursery and mother him to death by abandoning him. Don't worry. It's all part of the plan.

Tell your obstetrician that it is okay for him to cut your baby's  umbilical cord right away if it's okay for you to plug your OB's mouth and nose with Silly Putty for a few minutes.

*  *  *  *  *

The above chapter is excerpted in advance of publication from Jock Doubleday's book, "Spontaneous Creation: 101 Reasons Not to Have Your Baby in a Hospital, volume 2."

Volume 1 of the above work is available, by tax-deductible donation only, from the California 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation Natural Woman, Natural  Man, Inc. at  www.SpontaneousCreation.org

Below are the endnotes/sources for the above chapter.

ENDNOTES/SOURCES for Chapter 74, "You don't want your baby's umbilical cord cut too soon"

"between a fourth and a third of your baby's oxygenated blood"
Brigitte Jordan writes: "[O]nce the baby is born, there is no place for the surgeon to put it as long as it is attached to the placenta. This awkward situation is resolved by cutting the cord immediately, a practice which  results in the infant not getting about 25% of the blood supply that is its due." (Birth in Four Cultures, 62)

The WHO report, "Care in Normal Birth," states: "Late clamping (or not clamping at all) is the physiological way of treating the cord, and early clamping is an intervention that needs justification. The "transfusion" of blood from the placenta to the infant, if the cord is clamped late, is physiological, and adverse effects of this transfusion are improbable, at least in normal cases. After an abnormal pregnancy or labour, for instance in rhesus sensitization or preterm birth, late clamping may cause complications, but in normal birth there should be a valid reason to interfere with the natural procedure." (World Health Organization, Care in Normal Birth, 1999)

"circulatory shock"
Elizabeth Noble writes that "if the cord is cut too soon, the infant will experience a circulatory and a respiratory shock, a washback effect from blood that would have returned to mother, putting stress on the heart and depriving the baby of oxygen and red blood cells." (Primal Connections, 202)

"He's in a hurry"
Doris Haire writes: "Several years ago De Marsh stated that the placental blood normally belongs to the infant and his failure to get this blood is equivalent to submitting him to a rather severe hemorrhage. . . . Routine early clamping or milking of the umbilical cord may appear to save the professional a few minutes time in the delivery room but neither practice has been demonstrated to be in the best interest of either the essentially unmedicated mother or her infant. [Avery, M. "Decreased Blood Volume," The Lung and Its Disorders in the Newborn Infant 1:130-131, Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co.]

Placental transfusion resulting from late clamping, whereby the infant receives approximately an additional 25% of his total blood supply, is part of the physiological sequence of childbirth for most of the world's newborn infants in both developed and developing countries . . . The lithotomy position for birth, preferred by the American obstetrician because it is more convenient for him, makes placental transfusion inconvenient since there is no end of the bed on which the obstetrician can place the wriggling infant. The practice of "milking" the cord in order to save 3 minutes time does not appear to be in the best interests of the newborn infant." (The Cultural Warping of Childbirth, 21)

"infant jaundice"
(Ronnie Falcao "Routine Newborn Procedures," http://www.gentlebirth.org)

"iron deficiency (iatrogenic anemia)"
(Judith Goldsmith, Childbirth Wisdom from the World's Oldest Societies, 160)

"erythroblastosis (Rh disease)"
Robert S. Mendelsohn writes: "The doctor hurriedly cuts the cord before it has stopped pulsating, so the infant's blood backs up in the mother. It is that mixing that produces erythroblastosis (Rh disease) in a subsequent child." (Male Practice, 156)

"delayed maternal placental expulsion"
Sheila Kitzinger writes: "The advantage of delayed cord clamping and cutting is that blood flows from the placenta through the cord and thus reduces the volume of the placenta, so that it peels off the lining of the uterus easily. When a placenta is swollen with blood it is more likely to be adherent and the uterus has to work hard to expel it." (Rediscovering Birth, 145)

Of further adverse consequences, Doris Haire writes: "Early clamping has been demonstrated by research to lengthen the third stage of labor and increase the likelihood of maternal hemorrhage, retained placenta, or the retention of placental fragments [Botha, M. "The Management of the Umbilical Cord in Labour," S. Afr. J. Obstet., 6(2):30-33, 1968]. The latter condition frequently necessitates the mother's return to the hospital in order to stop inordinate bleeding and to prevent infection. Because early clamping tends to interfere with the spontaneous separation of the placenta, making the need for obstetrical intervention more likely . . . such a practice also tends to increase the incidence of fetomaternal hemorrhage or transfusion. Fetomaternal transfusion, which occurs when fetal blood cells pass into the maternal circulatory system, increases the likelihood of an Rh negative mother of an Rh positive baby developing antibodies. Whether early clamping increases the incidence of anemia in the rapidly growing child has not been sufficiently investigated, but research has demonstrated that the red cell volume of late clamped infants [i.e., infants whose umbilical cords are clamped after pulsing stops] increases by 47%." (The Cultural Warping of Childbirth, 22)

Judith Goldsmith writes: "In the majority of tribal societies, the umbilical cord was not cut until after the placenta was expelled." (Childbirth Wisdom from the World's Oldest Societies, 64)

See also Armstrong & Feldman, 1990 and Judith Pence Rooks, Midwifery & Childbirth in America, 129.

"jerks on the umbilical cord"
Joseph Chilton Pearce writes: "A fine M.D. friend of mine, an ophthalmologist, was upset by my seminar statements from Windle and others that premature umbilical severing took place in a majority of all medical births. He pointed out that every obstetrical text emphasized leaving the cord strictly alone until all activity in it ceased. He could not believe doctors had abandoned such a commonplace and obvious necessity. A young doctor, some three years out of medical school, told me, however, that in his internship in a large eastern hospital, he had delivered ten babies under supervision and that he had been instructed not only to cut the cord immediately that it was available but also then to jerk the cord to dislodge the placenta -- the quicker to get the delivery room cleared. Two obstetrical nurses testified that my evidence was, if anything, understated, that the actual situation was far more grim." ----(Magical Child, 234)

"brain damage"
Frederick Leboyer writes: "The danger the child faces during birth has quite properly been stressed. This danger is anoxia: a deficiency of the precious oxygen to which the nervous system is so acutely sensitive. If it happens that the child fails to receive oxygen, the result is irreparable damage to the brain . . ." (Birth Without Violence, 49)

William F. Windle writes: "To clamp the cord immediately is equivalent to subjecting the infant to a massive hemorrhage, because almost a fourth of the fetal blood is in the placental circuit at birth. Depriving the infant of that much blood can be a factor in exacerbating an incipient hypoxemia and can thus contribute to the danger of asphyxial brain damage. (Windle, William F., Scientific American, 1969:77 in Laura Kaplan Shanley, Unassisted Childbirth, 31)

"Brain damage by asphyxia at birth," Scientific American (October 1969):77-83.

"nonpulsing blood going from the placenta into your baby is still flowing"  (Ronnie Falcao, "Routine Newborn Procedures," www.gentlebirth.org)

"[Nature] has arranged it . . . Only a little patience."   (Frederick Leboyer, Birth Without Violence, 50)

The above chapter and endnotes are excerpted in advance of publication from Jock Doubleday's book, "Spontaneous Creation: 101 Reasons Not to Have Your  Baby in a Hospital, volume 2."

Volume 1 of the above work is available, by tax-deductible donation only, from the California 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation Natural Woman, Natural  Man, Inc. www.SpontaneousCreation.org