According to recent headlines, the historical widely utilized and deeply entrenched obstetric practice of immediately clamping and cutting the umbilical cord is being called into question. What we may also want to question is why the practice of immediately severing the last connection transferring the stuff of life between mother and baby ever began in the first place.
There is no real way to know, but it is a good bet the practice of immediately clamping and cutting the cord began as a matter of convenience for the doctors who took over the practice of delivering babies and who also thought it was easier if women gave birth on their backs. As from a scientific basis, the medical literature confirms that immediate clamping is a potential life saving benefit in a very small number (about 0.5 percent) of births, in cases such as placenta previa.
So, was making immediate clamping a standard practice ever a good idea in the first place? It is not looking good. Here are the advantages that babies who are NOT immediately clamped appear to have:
- Increased blood volume
- Reduced need for blood transfusion
- Decreased incidence of intracranial hemorrhage in preterm infants
- Lower frequency of iron deficiency anemia in term infants
That means a vital health consistent practice of delaying clamping results in improved oxygen transport and red blood cell flow (full term babies), and in premature infants, it is associated with fewer days on oxygen and ventilation.
On the other hand, a vitalistic point of view assumes that life fundamentally knows what it’s doing and that it’s really good at perpetuating and protecting itself. Midwives and chiropractors and their clients have known this all along. Their viewpoint assumes the best, and they have created practice that support, rather than seek to circumvent, nature’s design for the healthy expression of life. By moving toward the viewpoint that good health is the natural outcome of life expressing itself, we assume that nature has its own timetable for umbilical separation and that of course babies will benefit from a lingering connection to their mothers. By developing and applying practices derived from a vital health viewpoint, we begin to ensure that the 99.5 percent of children who are born without life threatening complication have the right to be vitally healthy from birth!
Yours in health,
Dr. Brian Wallace
Adapted from original by Rebecca Koch