I know that there’s a ton of things that demand your attention when preparing for natural childbirth, but please do not allow yourself to overlook what to do to your baby’s umbilical cord at birth. In this article I would like to express to you the enormous importance and value of waiting to cut the cord! The difference in waiting a short amount of time after your natural childbirth may not seem particularly monumental to you but to your baby it is huge, and can affect them for the rest of their lives!
What the Umbilical Cord Means to Your Baby - While inside the Womb
The umbilical cord is your baby’s main source of life while it is in your womb. Among other things it takes the place of its lungs. It connects your baby with the placenta which pumps this amazingly oxygen and nutrient rich blood through their entire body feeding, sustaining and nourishing them. And then when the blood is ready to be cleansed it pumps it back to the placenta where it is refreshed, renewed and sent back to them to use. This is a continuous ever flowing beautiful process that nature has created perfectly.
So there is a constant feeding, nourishing and cleansing system that is taking place between you, your baby and the placenta. In essence it is your baby’s “life cord.”
You Chose When to Cut Your Baby’s Cord After Natural Childbirth- Please Make an Informed Choice
After your babys’ natural childbirth it is still going to be connected to its umbilical cord until you decide that it is time to cut it. Sadly we are living in the days where everything is rush, rush, rush, hurry, hurry, hurry! We seem to have forgotten the importance of slowing down long enough to respect nature’s process. It’s all about the short cuts. And this is what it’s become in the medical community; the quickest way to get things done has taken precedence over the most beneficial.
All too often we just go along with whatever procedures are in place simply because we don’t know any different. But please do not allow your baby to miss out on all of the benefits that nature has intended for it. And remember that this is your baby and all decisions surrounding its’ birth and care are yours to make.
What the Umbilical Cord Means to Your Baby - After Natural Childbirth
Even though your baby is now able to survive on its own without being connected to the cord does not mean that it suddenly is of no use anymore. Remember that this cord has been your baby’s connecting life force for the entire span of its existence so far. So to cut it suddenly, abruptly and prematurely is not beneficial to your baby. In terms of health benefits and emotional benefits it is much better for your baby to wait to cut its cord.
When to Cut Your Babys’ Cord after Natural Childbirth
How long should you wait to cut the cord? After your baby’s natural childbirth the umbilical cord does not just lie limp not functioning. For several minutes after birth the cord is still very much alive and active, still pumping blood and oxygen into your baby. You should not cut the cord until it has completely stopped pulsating. Changes in the cord’s whartons jelly then produce a natural internal clamping within 10-20 minutes after birth. But as long as it is still beating it is still benefiting your baby.
Some parents choose to have what is called a “lotus birth” meaning that they chose not to cut the cord at all but rather allow the baby to naturally detach from the cord and placenta in its own time.
Benefits of Waiting Until the Cord Stops Beating
Besides, leaving the cord intact allows the natural physiological changes to take place within the child’s body at their own pace, and allows iron and many other very important nutrients to be delivered to the baby.
What It Means for Your Baby to be Allowed to Experience Natural Childbirth in His Time
“In the act of drawing breath, of oxygenating his own blood with his own lungs, the child becomes himself. With his first breath, the child sets forth on the road to independence, to autonomy, and to freedom. Nature provides oxygen for the child through two sources: the cord continues to beat even as the lungs begin to function, the two systems work together, one taking over from the other, like a relay. The first system, the cord continues to oxygenate the child until the new system, the lungs, has taken over completely.
But practically speaking much depends on the way this transition takes place; whether this transition is made slowly, progressively, or brutally, in panic and terror. This can make the difference between a calm gentle birth or a…tragedy…
If the changeover comes abruptly it will leave a mark for the rest of life, any future changes will always be perceived as threatening.
Although the child is out of the womb he remains dependent on his mother through the umbilical cord, which continues to beat strongly for several minutes four or five sometimes even longer. Oxygenated through the cord and thus protected from anoxia the child can, without shock or danger settle down to breathing without being rushed – in his own time…
For a few minutes the baby straddles two worlds as it were. Then slowly, slowly he can cross the threshold from one to the other peacefully and easily, and with all safety, as long as we don’t rush in, interfere”
~ Frederick Leboyer “Birth Without Violence”
Trust and allow nature to work as it is intended, birth is not an emergency or a race. It is so precious, and those moments right after birth are what defines your child’s view of it’s new world. Savor those moments, allow them to be sweetly sacred. Just taking a little extra care and those few extra minutes can make all the difference in the world to your baby, sending them the message that you are there to support love and respect their individual journey in this life. After your baby has been allowed to make the change over in its’ own time, and the cord has been detached you can keep it, make art out of it, all sorts of really cool stuff! What are your thoughts on the importance of this process? Do you have any plans on what you’re gonna do with the cord after your natural childbirth, or are any of you planning a lotus birth?