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Tag Archives: birth standards

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed cord clamping isn’t a new process and has been part of Birthways Family Birth Center standard of care for as long as we’ve been welcoming babies.

In practice, we typically wait until the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating and often until after the placenta is born to clamp and cut the cord. At our center, the clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord is left to the discretion of the mother when no medical complications are presented.

The clamping and severing of the umbilical cord is considered to be a spiritual and sacred process in many cultures, encouraging the medical community to research the positive and negative effects of delayed cord clamping. Recently, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have published an official scholarly recommendation to delay the clamping of an umbilical cord at least 30-60 seconds after birth. While this doesn’t seem like a long time, it is longer than immediate cutting and has been shown to have positive benefits.

This recommendation is slowly but surely raising the standard for delayed clamping, providing newborns with a multitude of benefits at birth and later development.

ACOG Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping

While preterm infants may benefit the most from delayed cord clamping, all infants can benefit both physically and developmentally at birth and the first few months postpartum. Some of these incredible benefits include improved transitional circulation,increased red blood cell volume as well as decreased risk of brain hemorrhaging and iron deficiency in the first year.

Because iron deficiency has been linked to impaired cognitive development, delayed clamping can improve the cognitive, motor and behavioral development of infants in their first year. This can make it easier to reach developmental milestones and help infants establish stronger mental and emotional connections.

Known Drawbacks

The only notable drawbacks that coincide with delayed cord clamping are the yield of cord blood if the parents are choosing to bank. Cord blood banking agencies require a minimum volume of cord blood and the delayed clamping results in less blood to meet this criteria. Each birth is different and in some cases, delaying the clamping doesn’t create a problem for banking. This can be considered a minor setback, as the health benefits in this case dramatically outweigh any negatives.

Preferences

Each family has their own beliefs and cultural lens when it comes to their birth decisions and cord clamping. Some choose lotus birthing in which the placenta remains attached until it naturally separates from the infant, usually after a few days. Other parents choose more traditional methods of severing the cord like cord burning. 

After ACOG published their research on delayed clamping, standards of care have begun to change for the better.

Although delayed cord clamping has always been an important part of our philosophy, we firmly believe it remains at the discretion of parents. However, this will hopefully change the perception of delayed cord clamping in hospitals and birthing centers across the board as more parents and practitioners familiarize themselves with the undeniable health benefits for newborns.

Human Rights in Childbirth

While we get caught up with the little details of our children’s birth, it’s easy to lose track of the fundamentals and the industry’s standards of care.

Even with the privilege we have to live among advanced technology in prenatal care and childbirth, many women are receiving substandard care for their families.

This substandard or low quality care is a fundamental human rights concern and is worthy of attention in the childbirth community. Poor, working class, minority, or marginalized peoples receive no care or insufficient care in maternity settings all too often and it creates a growing problem in our communities.

Prenatal and Birth PTSD is an unfortunate reality that affects real mothers.

Negative birth experiences and violations of consent are creating unnecessary health risks for mothers and their children. These injustices occur when obstetric standards aren’t being met in certain areas.Many health care providers and industry professionals are setting out to change these statistics, decreasing infant mortality rates and increasing the quality of care that all women can expect for their baby’s delivery.

It is the human right for every woman to have access to the resources and healthcare support she needs for a healthy birth, leaving mothers as the empowered decision maker in her own birth experience.

Human Rights in Childbirth is an organization that aims for progress in these areas, paving the way for big changes in the ethical standards of Childbirth in the United States and Internationally. Our team of birth professionals support these efforts as we implement judgement free philosophies for every family in our birthing center. We proudly support their organization and encourage other families to help make real changes for women and their children.

Our standard of birth support reflects the dedication of our team to providing exceptional care for every family. Decisions and plans for birth are the exclusive right of parents and we strive to offer families every resource at our disposal to create the safest and most comfortable environment possible to welcome their new baby.

We encourage every family to understand their rights surrounding childbirth and some of the ways these rights can be compromised.

“A person does not lose their fundamental human rights when they become pregnant. Every human being, regardless of their pregnancy status, has the following rights:”

The Human Rights in Childbirth Association identifies ways that consent can be compromised and fundamental human rights are violated every day around the world.

VIOLATIONS TAKE ON MANY FORMS:

  • Physical abuse includes things like non-consented force, restraint, unnecessary procedures including episiotomy, and failure to provide pain relief.
  • Disrespect involves things like verbal abuse, bullying, blaming, humiliation, reprimands, and ‘shroud-waving.’
  • Non-confidential care holds little regard for unauthorized revelation of personal details, physical exposure, and lack of respect for religious or personal modesty.
  • Non-consented care might mean that procedures were performed without adequate information or dialogue to enable autonomous decision-making, or that there was undue pressure to make specific clinical choices.
  • Misinformed care involves biased, non-transparent clinical information, disabling women from giving true informed consent.
  • Depersonalized care means there was an inflexible application of institutional policy, and / or failure to take into account women’s individual circumstances, including around companionship of choice.
  • Discriminatory care is unequal treatment based on personal attributes such as age, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and disability.
  • Abandonment of care includes refusal to provide care due to inability to pay or birth choices outside of expected guidelines.

Every opportunity to educate families on their rights in childbirth is progress and a step toward a brighter future.

If you have questions about your child’s birth or how you can support organizations like Human Rights in Childbirth, contact us.

As we stand together and implement a nurturing birth experience that is rich in resources, we can steadily raise industry standards, improving the quality of life for all women and their babies.

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