Mannnnny years ago (1984 - 86), I wrote an article on obstetricians dogmas on cord cutting in hospital ,which landed up in various incarnations in several journals worldwide, finally landing up in Mothering Magazine. The thrust of this article was that obstetricians had their heads firmly located in the pavement, and that babies of any age, and condition are not born with a scissor deficiency and do not need their cords immediately clamped and cut. Can you imagine any other mammalian species, like cats, dogs or sheep, frantically asking their peers for a cord clamp and scissors? Wouldn't you think it would occur to medical people that our bodies might have been designed correctly, to do a job efficiently and correctly? Wouldn't you think they'd wonder what might go wrong if they "interfere"? Of course not. But then, I also know mothers who believe that if a clamp isn't used, all the blood will leak back out of their baby, who will then die. Sigh. Today, a group of fossilised medical non-thinkers, enraptured their world with the news that delaying cord clamping for babies born before 28 weeks is a good thing. Perhaps they will get the Nobel Price for this priceless discovery? Interestingly, they have no questions or shame about their "findings". Indeed, they say they don't even understand the "mechanism" [choke], when it's blindingly obvious. By their enthusiasm, you'd think they were telling the world about a new, previously un-thought-of miracle! But note this... before they implement this, they will require many more multicenter studies to be done....!!!! - kaching.... which might take how long???? :
"It's a very well-designed study, not only to understand the clinical effects of [DCC] but also to understand the mechanisms that might explain [them]. Both will be required to have any choice (chance?) of gaining acceptance in the medical community," DeWayne Pursley, MD, MPH, chief of neonatology at Beth Israel Decaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, who attended the presentation, told Medscape Medical News.......
Note the prominence of this man and all the letters after his name. Which means he presumably knows something.... the article also said:
We need to continue to discuss with our obstetrical colleagues the different interventions on both sides of the table that we can use to improve outcomes. We would also like to transition to a multicenter trial, because that's the only way we can demonstrate beneficial effects," said Dr. Backes...
I want to vomit. The answers have been blindingly obvious since before I researched this in 1983.
Here's the problem. Obstetricians do not seem to function on the basis that a mother's body and a baby's body are designed to work efficiently and correctly given a chance. In big hospitals, obstetricians who consider themselves to be the ones running the show, have yet to learn that there are times when pockets are to put hands in, and door posts are to lean on. There are times to "interfere" and times to leave well alone, but they don't appear to know yet, when to leave well alone. Even worse, they don't know why.
Of course, an obstetrician doesn't get paid to do nothing. They must "intervene". To "improve outcomes", and make things "better". Better than what, exactly? Who defines "better" and which "outcome" is this we are talking about?
A more interesting train of thought to me is WHY these people continue to practice ignorant medicine. Might it be that mothers get the obstetricians they deserve?
Could it be that obstetricians continue to increase the risks to mothers and babies BECAUSE the medical profession continues to hoodwink society, including themselves, that ONLY MAN can "do it", and as a result, everyone suspends their own critical thinking processes?
Given obstetricians' perceived "need" to control both cord clamp and scissors, why don't we see all the New Zealand DOC workers running around in boats with cord clamps for all the dolphins in the sea? Do dairy farmers spend all their time, night and day, swanning around with a back pack of cord clamps ensuring that the blood doesn't run out of their calves?
Eveyrone in New Zealand, watches sheep, cows and foals being born without cord clamps. So why are humans "different"? I'll tell you why. Because doctors said so.
It's this serious systemic ignorance and desire to "control", which results in mothers, who can't see the damage obstetricians do, continuing to flock to them, and adoringly thank them for "saving" their babies from the damage which intraventricular haemorrhage can do, little knowing that that Instantly Clamped Cord just might have caused it in the first place..
Okay, this Medscape article is about premature babies, who are a whole different catagory, but the majority of premature babies are eminently preventable as well, something few obstetricians want to talk about either. (But that's another story for another blog!)
But notice this comment:
The researchers hypothesized that DCC may be useful for infants born before 28 weeks' gestational age (GA) and are at the highest risk for intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). "We wanted to see if there's an application of [DCC], which is already proven in an older population, to the most premature infants," Carl Backes, MD, a neonatologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who presented the research, told Medscape Medical News.
Let's have a look at this "already proven" bit, which is also very recent. Why is it only NOW, that medical people are waking up?
Don't you love the term, "We wanted to see if there's an application of [DCC]..."Application"? Let's redefine both DCC and "application". Delayed Cord Clamping means NOT applying a cord clamp until a control freak says "apply the cord clamp!".
Who defines the word "delayed"? If obstetricians don't understand the process by which a baby's body shuts down not just the umbilical cord, but other "cords" as well inside the baby providing multiple fail safe methods whereby it's not possible for a baby to bleed to death..., will an obstetrician's definition of "delayed" even be correct?
I've looked up their definition of delayed, and basically it means "as long as it takes for the obstetrician concerned not to panic", so if you're lucky, instead of the baby's umbilical cord being clamped and cut immediately, they will wait 30 seconds. If you've won lotto, they might even wait, with great impatience expecting you to be grateful to them... for 2 minutes. You have to understand that "time is money". These obstetricians have taken it upon themselves to define the word "Delayed".
I've not seen too many obstetricians write that they want to leave the cord until [GASP] the cord is white, hard and not pulsing - you know, like the cows out in the paddocks. By which time, a cord clamp is totally unnecessary anway. And teeth will do to cut the cord, but that looks a bit barbaric in a supposedly educated society doesn't it?. And those teeth might have bugs on which might go up the cord and kill the baby, so they might say... So yes, scissors might do, just to look "civilised".
And yes, there are parts of the world, where similar paranoia and ignorance drives ludicrous practices like putting a pat of cow dung on a cord stump for several days, to "seal" it, which can result in seriously bad bacteria getting into a baby's body and killing that baby. Obstetricians don't have a monopoly on stupidity...
I can hear readers intone, "And what medical school did she go to?" My answer is, "Obviously one which teaches more than the ones these experts went to." ....
"And so Hilary, just WHAT do you know about cord cutting?"
Apart from the article I wrote in Mothering, I know a heck of a lot. A tiny fraction of what I know, I wrote up in a document a year ago, which has not been completed, so it's still in draft form.. Here. Read all about it. Yes it is technical. After all, that's the only way wise "men" can understand information. Even then, the fact that I wrote it and am not a certified expert, would disqualify it's validity, in the eyes of most of the medical system. Yes, you will have to take your time and think carefully about the biology and functions described. But do so. One day, your baby's life might depend on it.
By the way, I'm not a lone voice on this topic. There is an obstetrician called Dr George Morley. He is absolutely hot on the fact that one of the biggest dangers to babies was the obstetrician with his cord clamp and scissors. I enjoy his pithy repartee, in emails, where he discusses his hidebound colleagues - about whom he said to me on 26th January 2005 in a discussion of the ignorant "current obstetric youngsters" :
I am going to a local Michigan ACOG meeting tomorrow and I am attaching a hand-out to this email that will no doubt upset some of your "current obstetric youngsters", some of whom are professors.
I really do appreciate company in this wilderness, but the company is growing.
G. M. Morley, MB ChB FACOG
Why is there this growing "wilderness" which Dr Morley described? More importantly, why are the words and exhortations of good, sane doctors not listened to?
The bottom line is this. (From my perspective.) God knew exactly what he was doing when he designed ALL mammalian species to be able to give birth without providing a clamp or a pair of scissors in a back pocket on the baby's butt. You don't see dairy farmers and sheep farmers running around with clamps and scissor when calves and lambs are born, and you don't see DOC workers swimming with the dolphins using clamps to make sure that the next generation don't die because all their blood leaks out.
Only man, this supposedly intelligent species - and the brightest brains in the country who go to medical school are ignorant enough to think that the transition system at birth, doesn't work .... as designed by God. Maybe that is the real reason.
If God is written off - quite unnecessary to our existence - then someone has to take His place!
So by and large, most of the medical profession thinks they are god, and unless functional biology is something they've worked out and understood within the framework of what they understand as "wisdom', any other expertise or knowledge can't possibly exist.
Perhaps that explains why they can delightedly talk about all this to each other, without even an inkling that the real problem looks back at them in the mirror every morning.