How to Cut the Umbilical Cord of a Baby

Baby's umbilical cord

The umbilical cord is the primary source of nutrition and oxygen for your baby in utero. It is a membrane that connects the baby and the placenta. It is also the vital connection between the mom and the baby. However, once your baby is born, cutting the umbilical cord is a must.

What is the Right Time to Cut the Umbilical Cord?

You may have heard many opinions on when you should have your baby’s umbilical cord cut. Worry not, as we help you understand when it should be cut. Since the cord acts as your baby’s lifeline until he is born, and it has helped your little one growing inside you, it is natural for you to want to do the right thing.

The cord consists of vital cells such as stem cells, red blood cells, and white blood cells that help in building your little one’s immune system and enables him to fight off any infections. The cord even contains T-cells that are now being used to fight cancer.

To preserve all of this, it is highly recommended that parents must choose to wait at least one to three minutes before having the doctor cut the cord.

How Does the Doctor Cut the Umbilical Cord?

Once your baby is born, there is always an excitement to cut the umbilical cord. In most cases, the parents let the doctor carry out this procedure, keeping the newborn’s safety in mind.

The doctors follow very simple, yet careful steps to ensure the cutting goes smoothly.

  • The doctors first check for the pulsating rhythm of the cord. Only once that has come to an end, the doctors can proceed for clamping the cord. This delayed clamping of the cord is beneficial for your baby’s health.
  • While clamping, the doctor will place two of clamps along the umbilical cord.
  • He will then proceed to place gauze under the section of the cord that will be cut.
  • Then he will use sterile scissors to cut the cord that has been positioned between the two clamps.
  • Once the cord is cut, the doctors ensure that all the excess blood is dabbed off.
  • The doctor will then recommend not disturbing the clamp that remains on your baby’s cord until it naturally heals.

Why is Small Umbilical Cord Section Left?

Once the cord has been cut, the clamp is left on, and the cord naturally dries up in less than a week. Once the clamp is removed, you may notice slight bleeding, but that is absolutely all right.

The remaining portion of the umbilical cord that is dried up is called the ‘Stump’. This part will eventually, over the span of 10-15 days, dry up as well and fall off! But the utmost care to the stump must be given until that occurs, as the wound is highly susceptible to infections during the healing period.

Baby umbilical cord cut

Does Cutting the Umbilical Cord Hurt Your Baby?

It is natural for new parents to protect their baby from any harm, especially when you see the doctor clamping down and ready to snip away at your baby’s umbilical cord!

The anatomy of the umbilical cord is basically two arteries and one vein that is surrounded by a jelly material known as Wharton’s Jelly. Despite all of this, cutting the umbilical cord doesn’t hurt your baby because the umbilical cord does not contain any nerves. So, cutting the cord would have the effect of cutting your hair or nails. Thus, new mommies and babies feel nothing when the link is cut.

Reasons Not to Cut Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

We can see there is a huge rush in the request by parents to delay the cutting of the umbilical cord. Some even prefer to keep the placenta and cord until they naturally fall off, even though that could be a tedious task to care for new parents.

There are multiple rationales that we have listed that will help you understand why you should delay or not cut the umbilical cord.

  1. Babies have a noticeable rise in blood volume as compared to babies whose cords were clamped and cut off without delay.
  2. With more blood that re-enters your baby through the cord, the chances of them developing any deficiency are lowered due to the increase in Iron.
  3. This will also help your baby have a better immune system and reduce the risk of anaemia.
  4. With the delayed cutting of the cord, your baby will also have a significantly good chance of a having a higher weight at birth.
  5. A major plus point of delaying is reducing the chance of intraventricular haemorrhaging in babies and/or the chance of sepsis setting in.
  6. Babies who do not have their cord cut or have a delayed cutting of the cord have seen to have very few or no requirement with transfusions.
  7. Babies depend on the umbilical cord while in-utero to provide nutrition, but mainly, it is their main source of being provided oxygen
  8. Mommy’s touch! As your baby is born, rather than rushing or worrying about cutting the cord, make sure to have your baby experience skin-to-skin touch. This is important; as this is the first bond, your baby will create in the physical world.

As your baby’s umbilical cord is cut, you can request for the storage of the cord blood. There have been many benefits from this cord, the only source of life for your child, helping him protect for any potential health risks.

Cutting your little one’s cord can be a joyous moment. It is symbolical to the effect of having babies break the link with you to begin their own journey in the outside world.

Also Read: Delayed Cord Clamping