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

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