Umbilical cord cutting is one of the central issues of haikProject. Immediate Cord Clamping (ICC) and premature severing of the cord go against the evolutionary mechanisms of human organism and may potentially pose harm to the fragile brain, heart and lungs of the neonate. Akin to circumcision trauma, ICC is one of the most common, but fortunately, easily preventable birth traumas in today’s typical hospital birth.

My husband, psychiatrist Arthur Pogosyan and I have tried to educate childbirth professionals and parental community on the crucial timing of umbilical cord cutting. When we first touched upon the harms of ICC, we sounded too unorthodox for medical community both in the U.S. and in Armenia. While there has been some positive shift in the discourse of umbilical cord in medical literature, this change is very slow. The health of millions of babies is being unnecessarily jeopardized by this unscientific practice. haikProject calls professional and parental community to join us in our efforts to change the harmful intervention of ICC.

Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child.

Erasmus Darwin

The physiological functions of umbilical cord and placenta

When the infant is born, umbilical cord pulsates to transfuse the placental oxygen-rich blood into the baby. This ensures continuous supply of oxygen to the brain before neonate’s natural mechanism switches from placental oxygenation to pulmonary (lung) oxygenation. To put it simply, before the baby’s lungs start to fully function, the placental blood supplies the newborn with oxygen for optimal survival.

Physiological (natural) cord closure

Anywhere between 5-20 minutes the cord vessels occlude (“clamp”) naturally due to complex physiological processes: upon interaction with cold air, a substance present in the cord, called Wharton’s jelly, swells around the umbilical artery and causes vasoconstriction and natural clamping occurs. In other words, if left without external interventions (artificial cord clamp) cord arteries will close physiologically shortly after birth. The visible signs of physiological occlusion are:

  • pulsation in the cord ceases
  • the cord collapses

Immediate (premature) cord clamping

In modern hospitals an artificial clamp is placed on a still pulsating umbilical cord seconds after the baby is born and often, before the baby’s first breath is initiated. The amputation of the still functioning placenta from the child cuts off the oxygen-rich blood transfusion to the child, depriving the neonate from up to half of the volume of valuable blood supply. This blood loss in varying degrees, depending on the timing of the cord clamping, may potentially result in multiple adverse outcomes. If the neonate’s first breath is not initiated and pulmonary oxygenation is yet not well established, even the brief disruption of vital oxygen supply to the neonate can lead to irreversible impairment – from subtle to serious.

Our seminar on Immediate Cord Clamping examines the scientific literature on the harms of this intervention, from anemia to permanent hypoxic brain damage, to mental retardation and/or possible development of autism. Learn how to prevent any harm to your newborn. Attend our seminars or call for individual counselling.

Our latest flyer can serve as a quick reference for you and your friends for getting familiar with 5 Crucial Aspects of Childbirth and Childcare.
Click to download or print the PDF

Further readings

George Malcolm Morley, MB ChB FACOG Neonatal Resuscitation: Life that Failed, July 21, 2011

Mercer, J.S.; Vohr, B.R.; McGrath, M.M.; Padbury, J.F.; Wallach, M.; Oh, W. (2006). “Delayed cord clamping in very preterm infants reduces the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage and late-onset sepsis: a randomized, controlled trial”. Pediatrics 117 (4): 1235–42.

Davis L., McDonald S.R.M., Examination of the Newborn and Neonatal Health: A Multidimensional Approach. 2008(116-17). Churchill Livingstone

Hutton EK, Hassan ES (March 2007). “Late vs early clamping of the umbilical cord in full-term neonates: systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials”. JAMA 297 (11): 1241–52.

Mankind’s first natural stem cell transplant. Jose N. Tolosa, Dong-Hyuk Park, David J. Eve, Stephen K. Klasko, Cesario V. Borlongan, Paul R. Sanberg. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 2010; 14(3): 488-495.

The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice but is for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

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  1. The cord | Mylittlecuteface
    May 17, 2014

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