Thursday, August 7th, 2014
Hang on to your scissors! The new trend in births is to…burn the umbilical cord?
As Today.com reports, some parents are embracing this age-old practice because it allows the whole family to help sever the physical connection between mom and baby. Typically, each person takes turns holding a lit candle under the foot-long umbilical cord for minutes at a time; the whole process can take up to 20 minutes to complete. Meanwhile, the baby is kept away at a safe distance and oftentimes nurses or snoozes through the whole thing.
But still. An open flame?! Near my brand-spanking-new baby? (shudder)
Still, seeing a cord burning in action was enough to convince Paige Driscoll, owner of Santa Cruz Birth Photography and a mom of four (soon to be five). After photographing a burning (one is pictured to the right) and seeing how much love was in the room, she decided to try it for the birth of her fifth son, due later this month. “Too many times during birth, everything happens so quickly, so this is a really slow and gentle process that slows everything down and makes it so memorable,” she explained to Today.com.
To be honest, while I’m not sure I would have burned the cord, I get where Driscoll is coming from. When I was in labor, I asked my doctor to hold off for a few minutes before clamping and cutting the cord. But for whatever reason, she did the deed right away. And it bugged me. A lot. As far out there as it sounds, at least with burning, you have control over when the final break happens.
Plus, there are the health benefits of a delayed cut. Because burning takes longer than the traditional clamp-and-cut, your newborn has a little more time to soak in the rich nutrients from your placenta. And those extra few minutes could have a lasting impact: Studies have found that waiting even an extra minute or two to clamp the cord can increase a newborn’s hemoglobin levels and make them less likely to have an iron deficiency within six months after birth, according to several news reports.
Something else to consider: If you decide to go the cord burning route, plan to deliver somewhere besides a hospital — there’s a strict policy against open flames in a hospital or medical setting.
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