Birth in South Africa Natural Birth Pregnancy and Birth Information

Optimal Umbilical Cord Clamping

Lotus Birth - Optimal Cord Clamping

There is no need to rush to cut the umbilical cord after birth. The baby is born. The mother gives birth to the placenta soon thereafter. The cord is left intact. This picture was taken 24 hours after birth. The placenta is placed in a container covered with Himalayan salt. The cord goes white after birth then continues to dry out. If left, the cord comes off at the navel in 3-7 days. The placenta is usually buried in the garden by the parents. This way of waiting patiently for nature to complete this transition is called a Lotus Birth.

When a baby needs help to breathe, this can be done on a tray placed next to the mother, before attention is paid to the cord. In fact this is more appropriate. The blood flowing from the placenta to the baby’s heart and lungs will also help to resuscitate the baby. The baby needs the iron reserves this extra blood will provide. When the cord is left intact after birth, the baby is less likely to suffer from anaemia or low iron levels. Low iron levels affects the development of babies and may even lead to brain damage.

It is advisable to leave the cord intact after birth for at least 5 minutes and ideal to wait until the cord turns white after the available blood in the cord and placenta has been transferred to the baby. Once the cord has turned white, the birth attendent may cut the cord with sterile scissors or blade, and tie off the cord with sterile cord or clamp.

Babies unfold beautifully after birth with as little panic and intervention as possible. Wait for white is a good directive for birth attendents. Waiting for white does no harm. The baby can be dried and the mother can lift the baby into her arms as she wishes. There is no need to rush.

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