28 May 2009

premature cord clamping

It seems to me that we (well, not me & maybe not you, but the big "we") are so focused on making sure our children are independent right from the start that "we" are encouraged not to hold them too much, not to sleep with them, to get them off to school as soon as we can and so forth. Perhaps this is related to why typical hospital birth involves the almost immediate clamping and cutting of the cord, even when no emergent medical care is needed for the newborn. When hospitals agree to "delayed" clamping and cutting, this often means about two to three minutes. Playing into this, perhaps, is the marketing pressure to bank cord blood, which necessitates the almost immediate clamping in order to make sure that there is enough cord blood (which represents a portion of the baby's total blood volume now being taken) to bank. Contrast that with the average home birth or less-interventive birth atmosphere, where the cord may not be cut for quite a long time.
Though perhaps a little strongly stated, here is an article from Mercola.com about the dangers of common cord practice in hospital birth, asking whether this practice is causing potential brain dammage in babies. Interesting to think about the mechanics as nature intended:
Newborn lungs exist in a "compacted state" suitable for the womb. When the infant is born, the placenta and cord pulse for up to 20 minutes, delivering a burst of blood volume to the infant's system. This blood burst is just what is needed for the lungs of the newborn to expand.

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