“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within...”
Romans 12:2

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Hilary's Desk

Cord clamping - on leaving the cord alone...

Hilary Butler - Saturday, November 13, 2010

Long time readers here will know that immediate cord-clamping is something which makes me angry enough to write lots of blogs on it.  In the latest BMJ, a retired consultant obstetrician, in a column called Personal View calls for the practice to be stopped.  Why does an obstetrician have to be retired before saying the blindingly obvious?  It’s utterly insane that the “lay” community is and has always been, way ahead of the eight ball when it comes to cord clamping. And they were way ahead when it came to routine episiotomy too. I’m sure that the obstetricians only re-looked at the "science" of episiotomy, when the vocal, radical antsy mothers of the 60’s to the 80’s told them where to stick their automatic scissors and lucrative intervention bonuses up their own posterior!!! That there had to be some research done to justify getting rid of episiotomies, was another tragic waste of money, just as more research on leaving the cord alone will be an utter waste of money.  Except to the lucky person in dibs for another 10 years of secure income.

On October 26th, I talked about the practice of immediate cord-clamping

In 1986, Mothering published an article by me on it.  In 2009, I wrote a draft on it for a possible book which may or may not get done. The issue of cord clamping cuts to the core of both short and long term health of the baby.

Actually, the whole issue of how much or how little obstetricians really know, is really scary if you think about it. 

Consider this statement in Dr Hutchon's article:

Most textbooks with physiological descriptions of transition at birth state or imply that the cord circulation closes because of the application of the cord clamp.

Isn't that utterly sad.

But ask yourself this.  Why don't all other mammals born in the wild, not need either a clamp or pair of scissors?  Don't you wonder at the "intelligence" of people who wrote those textbooks?

So most obstetricians don't understand the physiology of birth, or the process of a baby breathing, how and why, and most of them think immediate cord clamping is normal, Worse, they think that leaving the cord alone is "a new or unproven intervention".  How bizarre is that?  Doing NOTHING is an "intervention"?????   Isn’t it ironic that these same ignorant obstetricians who immediate-cord-clamp are ALSO at the fore-front of cordblood banking? 

These same people who don't realise how important cord blood is, then make parents worried and tell them that if they spend thousands of dollars yearly to store all that blood that the baby should have got at birth in the first place..., then it might save their babies later?!!    Maybe their babies wouldn't be in that position in the first place, if they hadn't had an iatrogenic stem cell reduction and massive blood haemorrhage in the first place! Immediate cord cutting is the equivalent of draining around 4/10ths of the blood out of an adult, for goodness sake!

Immediate cord clamping is one of the worst “extractive industries” ever to do a disservice to a new baby, or a mother.  And obstetricians continue to remain oblivious to their own ignorance.

What would happen if the wife of obstetricians who believe in immediate cord cutting, had a pregnant cat or dog? Would the male obstetrician be hovering with the clamp and cord to save the babies lives from their mother’s ignorance?

Have you ever heard of New Zealand Department of Conservation workers panicking, because the local dolphins have a shortage of clamps and scissors. What about all the dairy and sheep farmers around the country?  Do Profarm or other farming equipment stores have a roaring trade in cord clamps?

Dr Hutchon says further research is needed on not cutting the cord, with regard to "special" circumstances.

Why? What's wrong with common sense?

These is no need for research in terms of vaginally born babies that need resuscitation. Why not have the paediatric team just attend to a vaginally birthed baby between the legs of the mother, while still attached to the cord? What’s the problem with that? If paediatricians are reluctant to let parents see how potentially brutal what they do to babies looks like..., then perhaps they should question what they do, and how they do it.

Or take for instance a baby born with a knot in the cord. Why do obstetricians immediately reclamp and cut it? All they need to do is loosen the knot (and if necessary, pass the baby through the loop and totally undo the knot... and the cord opens up by itself, and the blood starts pumping again. It’s not rocket science. This is "duh" stuff.

The same applies to a baby with shoulder dystocia or any other situation where the cord has compression. Get the baby out, and let the cord re-inflate by itself. It works. 

Even the classic "must cut" situation - a cord around the neck - is NOT a situation where the cord needs to be clamped either. The medical literature describes methods which do NOT involve cutting the cord. Why do obstetricians in general, not “get” that all they need to do in a normally progressing birth, is to do “nothing”? Is it because, as Dr Hutchon says, they are ignorant of physiology?  

How many obstetricians could tell you the intricacies of how the heart changes from a two chamber to a four chamber heart?

How many obstetricians can tell you that the baby’s body shuts down vessels at several places, not just at the umbilical area?

Have a look here.  click on the after birth, before birth gifs, and follow them through.  How a baby's circulation is established is an amazing process which ALL medical personnel involved in birth should understand.

Yet they don't. When I asked the obstetrician to remove the unnecessary clamp from my first baby, he said, “Oh but his blood will all leak out!” And these people call themselves experts?

And think about this.  If THIS is the extent of their "medieval" knowledge, what other obstetric practices are utterly unscientific? 

These are also the same people who tell you if your labour goes past 8 hours, that you should “consider” a caesarean!  do they know as much about labour, as they do about cord cutting???

Re caesareans, - first, obstetricians should reduce the numbers of caesareans since huge percentages are unnecessary, and are a product of parents being frightened witless of normal births, often by obstetricians who see birth as pathology, and highly dangerous, rather than a process to be assisted watchfully. Second, if a caesarean is REALLY necessary, then the baby and placenta need to be removed fast, then the placenta strung up higher in a cradle arrangement. I realise there is an issue of drugs getting through, which would have to be considered case by case. 

Fortunately, most mothers in this country have access to a midwife lead maternity carer.  The midwives I know have a much "healthier" understanding of labour and birth that most obstetricians I know.  So mothers here have the option to escape most of the interventions which are so unnecessary with normal healthy labour and birth.

But if you want the name of obstetricians who DO know something, ask midwives involved in home births, because they usually can tell you which obstetricians respect a mother's desire for a normal birth.

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