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Where can you find out more about this important aspect of your birth?
Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.
1801 Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin's grandfather
For evidence-based information on 'cord management' I suggest the following resources:
Hutchon, D. A view on why immediate cord clamping must cease in routine obstetric delivery - The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 2008;10:112–116., suggests that all births should have at least 30 seconds, and that anything less than this could be harmful to babies.
A cochrane review in 2013 found that it was favourable to wait more than 60 secs, and to be aware of jaundice (but this was not a reason to clamp too soon).
Another cochrane review looked specifically at preterm options (immediate delayed and cord milking) and found it favourable to wait at least 30 secs.
Science and Sensibility summarises this review in a more easy to understand manner.
Many people wonder about delayed cord clamping and cord blood collection. READ THIS article for more on this.
Did you know that some people opt for a lotus birth?
This means that the cord is never cut, and you keep the placenta with the baby until the cord (and placenta) come away after a few days.
Don't like the idea of that?
According to Odent (p.71 Childbirth in the Age of Plastics (exsaguine means bloodless)):
some hours after the birth the cord is thin, dry, hard, and exsaguine. It can then be cut without any special precaution
Basically, once the cord is thin, dry, hard and bloodless...then you don't need to worry about the tie. You can keep the placenta in a bowl next to baby. The first few hours are about skin to skin contact, rest and breastfeeding. So if you are comfortably in bed, holding your baby, the placenta can be in a bowl next to you. No drama, no worries. Uninterrupted.
What About the Cord? is one of the most common questions people have about birth.
Another is What do I do with the placenta?
The more you understand about cord biology, the less likely you are to agree to clamping too soon....what is too soon? That is up to you to decide. Explore the links above, seek further resources and make an Informed Decision. Specify in your Birth Map what you require for cord and placenta management. Sometimes it is not enough to request 'delayed cord clamping', and you may find you wish to request a lotus birth (even if this is not your intention), as this allows you to determine the timing of clamping.
Read about the Language of Birth Plans in this excerpt from The Book