Last month the New York Times ran a piece about the new research on cord cutting. Since the 1950s (when moms were given strong drugs and babies were whisked immediately away) it’s been the routine practice to cut the cord ASAP. But research is now showing that delayed cord clamping–even just by a few minutes– may be beneficial to the baby. You can read more about why here and here but the basic gist of it is that by cutting so soon, we deprive the baby of a last blast of oxygen, iron and nutrient rich blood. Studies are showing that when babies get this blood they have larger stores of iron months later. It also just makes sense to let the baby continue to get oxygen-filled blood during those first few minutes when breathing is established. Nature seems to have thoughtfully designed this process, right? So today, I want to share some incredible pictures from this terrific educational website.
Here’s a picture of the cord right after birth, look how thick and full of blood it is. (The midwife could see the cord pulsing with the babies heartbeat. Cool. But also, it’s filled with Wharton’s Jelly, a gooey, elastic substance that lines the cord and prevents kinks and knots from happening in utero. Also cool.)
Look several minutes later: Less blood and the jelly is thinning out.
At fifteen minutes post-birth the cord is totally limp and the blood has stopped pulsing. It’s done it’s job, time to cut it.
Ask your midwife or doctor about delayed cord clamping.
Thank you Nurturing Heart Birth Services for taking these pictures and giving us permission to use them!