Birth Articles:

True Knot in the baby's cord and cutting the cord

CUTTING THE CORD As little as a single generation ago, most delivery rooms were a no-go area for dads. These days, dad might be given the honour of cutting the umbilical cord himself - a wonderful way to include fathers in the birth experience. While the severing of the cord that connects mother and newborn usually occurs in less than 60 seconds after birth, there are some new ideas that suggest keeping those surgical scissors away for a few minutes longer. Cord milking is the process where, immediately after birth, the umbilical cord is "milked" two or three times in the direction from the placenta end towards the baby, before being cut and clamped. everal studies have found that this increase the transfer of red blood cells and improves the baby's blood pressure directly postpartum. A lotus birth is a practice where the umbilical cord is not cut at all, but left attached to the placenta. It's left to dry naturally and will separate three to 10 days after the birth. While still a fairly new idea in modern obstetrics, the concept of a lotus birth is gaining in popularity, with new age moms seeing the ritual as a special time during which baby slowly and naturally separates from his mother's body. TRADITIONS AROUND THE GLOBE A Jamaican tradition, which may have its origins in Africa, is to bury the umbilical cord or navel string on the family property and plant a tree on the spot. This is called the birth tree, and symbolises the family's connection to their land - it's a source of great pride. The Kotobuki Bako is a Japanese custom. Inside this lavish, well-crafted wooden box is a baby doll dressed in a small kimono. The dried umbilical cord is wrapped inside the kimono and preserved as a souvenir of the baby's birth. Some Native Americans also keep the umbilical cord. A beaded pouch is made to place the Shimp of the umbilical cord in after it falls away; and is a good luck charm unique to each child. In Latin America it's believed that you can prevent your newborn's belly button from becoming an outie by placing a coin on the navel as it heals after the umbilical cord falls off. MIRACLE OF CORD BLOOD In Western cultures, it seems that sentimentality comes second to the practical uses for the umbilical cord - or more specifically, blood from the umbilical cord, which is rich in stem cells. Today, cord blood which is stored after baby's birth is being used in place of a bone marrow transplant in the treatment of leukaemia. This treatment also treats genetic diseases, immune system diseases, cancers and blood disorders. In SA, it will cost around R20 000 to have your baby's cord blood collected and stored until her 21st birthday. Your baby's lifeline in the womb, the cord blood it contains could one day even save a life. A KNOT IN TIME Doula Virginia Oosthuizen recounts being at the birth of a baby born with a "true knot" "Renier and Teniel'le Jansen asked me to be part of the birth of their second son, Slater Matthew in Cape Town. He was a little late so the gynaecologist decided to induce by rupturing the waters early in the morning at Panorama Medi-Clinic. As a doula, I was totally accepted into their labour ward and became part of the team. They made me feel so at home as this affects the patient and she felt comfortable too. Tenielle progressed well and up until 7cm, she was coping extremely well to the point of me wondering why I was needed. She sat on the birth ball, ate ice blocks and drank a fair amount of Rehydrate and water; she walked up and down the corridors and was relaxed and in control. By lunchtime her pains became much stronger and her husband and I worked to help her through her final stages. At this time one has to be quiet and resourceful for the mom. I kept her face cool and massaged her lower back while giving words of encouragment.This is where the doula plays the most crucial role in the labour process. Tenielle gave birth to a healthy 4.3kg son without medication and a natural labour. We then found out that his cord had a neat knot (true knot) in it which must have happened sometime during her pregnancy, where he swam through the cord. Sometimes a baby will be born with a true knot in the cord; other times the blood vessels within the cord will be so curvy that they look like a knot. In extremely rare situations, a knot found in the cord of a baby who was stillborn will be presumed responsible for the baby's demise, as it may have tightened enough to stop blood flow through the umbilical cord. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if a knot has formed before delivery. However, it may be reassuring to know that most cords have safeguards to keep this from happening. Studies show that the chance of having a foetus deliver with a true knot is one to two percent. The chance of foetal death is increased with a knotted cord. The chance of foetal demise secondary to a knot blockage is five to 10 percent. As long as the knot remains loose, it generally does not harm the baby. However, sometimes the knot or knots can be pulled tight, cutting off the baby's ox.ygen supply. Cord knots result in miscarriage or stillbirth in five to ten percent of cases. During labour and delivery, a tightening knot can cause baby to have heart rate abnormalities that are detected by foetal monitoring."

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What I Do

I am living my dream while working with mums and babies. I see mums when they are 34 weeks pregnant and then go to their homes once they go into labour. I stay for the full duration of the labour and after the birth I assist them with breast feeding. I do another visit after the birth to see that all is well and to help where I can.  Mums are always welcome to call me in the event that they have any questions, whether before or after the birth. I am passionate about my work as a doula and I care and love all the families with which I work. Once you have been present at a birth you feel part of the family and it’s wonderful to hear news of the new baby’s life as he or she grows.

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