There is something so gentle about leaving the umbilical cord intake until the baby is born. It not only ensures that babies get absolutely all the blood benefits from delayed cord clamping, but also allows for a symbolically slow transition to the outside world. I always tell my doula students and clients that the birth isn’t over until the placenta is born!
Waiting to separate the baby from the placenta also keeps the third stage peaceful, calm. When clamping and cutting the cord is rushed even a little, it pulls the new parent(s)’ attention away from soaking in the magic of what they just did and distracts from the natural rush of hormones and oxytocin that create the ideal environment for a healthy physiological third stage.
Here’s an expert from one of my favourite birth blogs, Midwife Thinking:
the baby plays an important role in assisting with the birth of the placenta.Therefore undisturbed interactions between mother and baby are important in avoiding a PPH. A recent study looked at the impact of removing babies from their mother after birth and found that: “women who did not have skin to skin and breast feeding were almost twice as likely to have a PPH compared to women…” who did have this contact with their baby (Saxton et al. 2015). The authors conclude: “…this study suggests that skin to skin contact and breastfeeding immediately after birth may be effective in reducing PPH rates for women at any level of risk of PPH.”
The families that I work with and the primary attendants I recommend rarely disturb the third stage of birth unless a unique scenario is occurring. This is such a special and important phase of the birth, it is so important to be surrounded by people who respect the birth of the placenta and who will honour your wishes to leave the umbilical cord intact until you and your baby are ready!
Thanks to the mother in this photo for sharing her peaceful image and to one of my favourite teams at Strathcona Midwives in Vancouver for being supportive of gentle birth practices!
If you are preparing for a gentle birth in Vancouver, BC, please contact me about my doula / birth support service or for my recommendations for the best gentle birth midwives and birth attendants in our area.