Sounds like a pretty big statement doesn't it? Watch the Ted X video below then keep reading.....
Delayed cord clamping (or as is should be referred to as optimal cord clamping) is the buzz word of birth plans and discussions happening in every Facebook birth forum. Many people don't really understand what it means and why they need to have it. But don't you think after watching this video you can see the benefits for your baby. Actually understanding why it's in your birth plan makes you more inclined to ensure it happens after the birth of your baby.
The renowned Penny Simkin has a wonderful visual of what optimal cord clamping actually LOOKS like - watch her visual demonstration.
So how long do we wait to have 'delayed cord clamping'?
Every mother and baby's situation is different, however on average after 3-5 minutes the cord stops pulsating but for some it could be much longer. Have patience and enjoy getting to know your newest family member.
Three ways to tell the cord is ready to clamp:
- Simply take the cord gently between the thumb and index finger and wait for the 'throbbing' feeling to stop.
- Observe the cord changing colour from blue/purple to white.
- Look at the thickness of the cord, if blood is still moving to the baby it will look full (& blue/purple) possibly curly, but when it has stopped it with look thin and white.
It's not unusual for there to be little pockets of blood in the white cord, this is quite normal. The midwives will begin to look for signs of the placenta coming away from the uterine wall, telling them it's time to birth the placenta - this is much easier than birthing a baby ;) Here you will have another choice to make - a physiological third stage or a managed third stage - this is a post for another day......
Do we even NEED to clamp and cut the cord?
Actually no, you don't - some families choose to leave the baby and the placenta joined together and wait for the cord to dry out and come away all by itself. This is know as a Lotus Birth. The cord will dry naturally in 3-5 days, the placenta is treated with salt and some herbs and wrapped. They are kept close together until naturally separated.
Another option is Cord Burning - keeping baby and placenta joined until you are ready to separate them, the whole family can be involved. Click the link to read a blog post about cord burning ceremonies.