Delayed Cord Clamping Isn’t So Weird After All: Part 1

Drats. We’re doing it wrong again. Darn those midwives and home birthers and granola-crunchers…

Delayed cord clamping ought to be routine obstetrical procedure in most deliveries, yet I’m not sure how much it is.  Pretty much, alternative delivery providers have known and instituted delayed cord clamping routinely, yet conventional obstetrical services have been slow to change outmoded tradition.  I was a little anxious about asking my obstetrician for delayed cord clamping until I researched this topic for posting; I try to not make waves when I don’t have to.  After preparing the posts, I have no doubt that I’m standing on very firm ground, and my OB, if not already practicing delayed cord clamping, will readily agree to delayed cord clamping for our birth.  And I won’t be labeled “whacko.”  (LOL!)

Beyond Simply Accepting

Although I write about homeschooling, nutrition, and this or that, The HSD blog was opened due to my conviction that what I learned as a medical doctor ((and continue to be offered as continuing medical education) needed revised, enhanced, modified, and shared with others.  In my medical and pharmaceutical training, I undoubtedly learned the tools I needed to THINK about health, but sadly, I’ve been much more likely to just ACCEPT, for whatever good or bad reasons.  I really thought that the experts doing studies at the institutions who got together and created guidelines for the rest of us knew best and were looking out for the interest of health.  The last two years I have tried to stop “simply accepting,” and I have tried to forge together in my mind alternative viewpoints of medicine and conventional medicine–creating what I feel is a better approach to health and well-being.

My day-to-day health has improved dramatically thanks to alternative health ideas and alternative nutrition ideas, yet it’s not easy sorting through all the chaff.  To do so requires reading all sides of the story, like watching Fox and CNN and MSNBC to try to come up with your own belief of reality.  There is a lot of mud-slinging, which gets nobody nowhere fast.  Reminds me of a line from a Metallica song I liked back in the day, “You labeled me; I’ll label you…”  The post today and the next post cover delayed cord clamping, something that used to be performed pretty much only by alternative providers of delivery and completely shunned by conventional medicine.  My last trimester of pregnancy dawns upon me, and lately I’ve been trying to find the threads of truth as I sort through obstetrical and newborn care.

Recent Journal Article Encouraging Delayed Cord Clamping

In natural delivery settings provided by midwives, delaying the clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord has been common practice. However, conventional medical practice has routinely practiced immediate cord clamping and seemed (seems) reluctant to transition to a new way of doing things, even with increasing evidence advocating change!

“Immediate umbilical cord clamping after delivery is routine in the United States despite little evidence to support this practice. Numerous trials in both term and preterm neonates have demonstrated the safety and benefit of delayed cord clamping…The failure to more broadly implement delayed cord clamping in neonates ignores published benefits…”

Obstetrical Gynecology, March 2014

Ouch. That’s pretty blunt! Back when I was a resident delivering babies, immediate cord clamping was the norm. Catch and cradle Baby. Clamp. Cut. Hand off Baby. Deliver placenta (with gentle traction).

My Own Prior Experiences and Exposure to the Idea of Delayed Cord Clamping

All three of my own girls received immediate cord clamping on delivery. I had never heard of anything different or been taught of anything different as a young doctor. Cutting the cord upon delivery was just what we did, and I never thought of a reason to question it. I mean, how do you know to ask a question when you’re too ignorant to ask a question? To me, cutting the cord the way we did was just as routine and necessary as tying my tennis shoes before a run.

When I read about delayed cord clamping about a year ago on a site called Atlanta Mom of Three, I thought, “Huh! Well, that sounds like it’s probably a good thing.” Being done having kids and certainly not delivering babies professionally anymore, it was only curiously, scientifically interesting, not worth more study on my part because it didn’t pertain to my personal pursuit of GI health and overcoming food intolerances. However, I do remember being intrigued by it enough to mention it to my husband as table conversation. Now, here I am nearly a year later unexpectedly expecting our fourth child, and I am revisiting all these routine obstetrical (and pediatric newborn) “daily acts of living.” Having more time to read natural medicine and conventional medicine, I now have questions and new opinions–well-mingled together like a tasty sangria.

Closing

Although delayed cord clamping seems to have moved into the realm of acceptable, at least in the medical journals, that doesn’t mean every doctor/provider will do it. You and I can be the impetus for our physicians/providers to broaden the use of delayed cord clamping.  Our requests prompt thought and change, especially, as in this case, it is founded on research and changing guidelines.  I have not yet asked my obstetrician about how he handles clamping, but with my journal citations in my purse, I expect delayed cord clamping should be no issue–but I will not leave it to chance. Of course, my OB may not be the one delivering me in the middle of the night so I’ve assigned my husband the task of making sure delayed cord clamping happens in case I’m too far exhausted to be able to let the delivering doctor know of our wishes.  As you’ll see next post, there are virtually no harms in delayed cord clamping, and I feel it gives the newborn an edge.

Anyone recently had this conversation with their delivery provider?

~~Terri

25 thoughts on “Delayed Cord Clamping Isn’t So Weird After All: Part 1

  1. Valerie

    No longer “simply accepting” – that’s one thing that is crystal clear to me now, which certainly wasn’t when I was having my first two babies. I went along with whatever was presented to me, and even though some things didn’t feel right, I still didn’t question. Even since having Samuel, I have learned more about pregnancy and birth. I will go into another pregnancy (God Willing!) very much informed.

    I am really looking forward to your next post! 😀

    Reply
    1. mommytrainingwheels

      “Even though some things didn’t feel right, I still didn’t question” – it was the same for me with Charles (and I suspect most mothers have felt like this for at least their first pregnancy). Now, I am more informed than the first time around, but am still eager to see how things will turn out.

      Reply
      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        For my last three births, I never took time to be better informed above and beyond the way I was taught to manage pregnancy and deliveries. I saw it every day, and I never explored for myself nutrition, vaccinations, ultrasounds, delivery process, etc outside of ACOG (American College of Gynecology) recommendations. I saw no problems or issues with “how we did it.” Blessedly for me, my pregnancies, deliveries, and births went really well. And the things I would change now, for the most part, are probably (?) minor for healthy, term infants. But still, I want to informed and give my baby an advantage here and there and here and there–it all adds up! This pregnancy, I’ve realized just how little “talk” there is that goes on in the traditional OB practice for educating patients.

        Best wishes for this pregnancy! Are you glad she (right?) will be born in warmer weather? I am!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Oops–my bad! Don’t know where I pulled a “girl” out of the hat for you! 🙂

        Nope we don’t know either. I enjoy the prolonged wonderment of “what is it?” And I, for one, am very happy I won’t initially be lugging a big baby carrier seat running into the grocery at below freezing with three other kids in tow!

    2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I can’t remember if you mentioned it in your article, did they do delayed cord clamping with Samuel? They didn’t with my last. But it has been five years, and clearly the journals are advocating it now–whether OBs are following along or not. Lots to explore in obstetrics! Each doctor had his/her own way to do things. It was actually kind of frustrating as a resident/student trying to remember which doctor did what. The good ones explained themselves; the bad ones barked at you to get out of the way. 🙂 May your year be blessed!

      Reply
  2. mommytrainingwheels

    They did delayed cord clamping at the hospital where I delivered Charles. It was not something I asked for (I did not think to talk about it to my obgyn beforehand and I concentrated on more immediate things – like how much the darned contractions hurt – during labour), but it was something I had read about and wanted. It seems to be common practice at the hospital where I deliver. Perhaps a sign that things are changing in the delivery medical world (or perhaps I just ended up with an obgyn who believed in delayed clamping in the first place).

    And I agree with Valerie, love the new look!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks for noticing the new look! Spring is here! (Whether the sun and clouds agree or not!)

      Now that I’ve read up, I can’t wait to hear my OBs response. We live in a pretty isolated place so I don’t know what bearing that will have on compliance with the evolving recommendations.

      Were you offered the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine this pregnancy? That was new for me!

      Reply
  3. andthreetogo

    I delayed clamping with z, I don’t know if it made a difference in the experience or her health as she is my first and only. But, I liked the fact that it could be better for her and it was such an easy thing to do. I chose to deliver with a midwife though so I was actually prepared to do the more “unusual” natural things anyways. 🙂

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Shouldn’t be saying those “first and only” words unless your ready for what comes next. 🙂
      Luckily for me, mine have all been healthy. (And all my births have gone great!)…This has been my first two years of “natural” living! So many of these things are new to me! But this one is pretty easy and looks like my OB should already be doing this if he isn’t. However, I’d like it delayed until the cord stops pulsing, and sometimes they only delay 1-3 minutes. Thanks for commenting! Enjoy your week!

      Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I already had some Birks from baby number 1–when my feet swelled so badly I had to go buy new shoes and only Birkenstocks would fit. Then, they’ve been way too big ever since. I just gave them away preparing for baby number 4!

      And yes, I am turning into quite the quiet naturalist. Even parted with my aluminum deodorant when I found a great alternative! Thought I’d never do that. I hate to sweat. 🙂

      Reply
      1. IrishMum

        My solution to not sweating is not exercising 😉

        My feet were so big with my boys that I could only wear slippers for the last couple of months! I should have gotten Birks, but didn’t want to admit my feet were fat!

  4. Dr Steven Hopping

    Great site you have heere but I was wondering if you knew of
    any message boards that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get feed-back frdom other experienced individuals that share the same
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    Reply

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