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Delivering your placenta & Optimum Cord Clamping - know your options

Did you know their are two ways to deliver your placenta and that you can decide what is best for you? The fact is the more interventions you have the more difficult it can be for the natural onset of hormones to support the next stages of labour. If you are more of the belief that you want to birth naturally without interventions then looking into the benefits of how to encourage and support the natural onset and progression of your labour will help you in your mindset and decision making.

Above all else I hope this information is helpful in allowing you to make an informed decision.

The delivery of the placenta is referred to as the 3rd stage of labour. If you are hoping to deliver vaginally there are two options to deliver your placenta. These are called:1. Physiological 3rd stage – giving birth to your placenta without the aid of the synthetic hormone syntocinon.

2. Managed 3rd stage – an injection of syntocinon (Synthetic oxytocin) into your thigh immediately after the birth of your baby.

Things to consider when making your decision: It is important to know that your consent is required for all medical procedures. Therefore your consent must be given for any intervention from the natural process of giving birth. This includes being administered syntocinon for the delivery of your placenta.

Your primary medical carer should have asked you prior about this and got your sign off.

A Physiological 3rd stage takes longer than a managed one. When it is ‘managed’ you are having an intervention. Physiological means it is what your body is designed to do, which is continuing contractions once bubs is born. When you do skin to skin with your baby it allows oxytocin to flow and aids the releasing of the placenta from the uterine wall. Those who breastfeed will notice your uterus contracting for the weeks after having bubs as your uterus is still shrinking to its original size. You will continue to have contractions for both a physiological and managed 3rd stage. The contractions will not be as intense as what they were during the delivery of your baby.

With a managed 3rd stage, the process will be a lot faster due to the administering of the synthetic oxytocin. By doing this you are speeding up the process where the natural onset of oxytocin that is produced once you have delivered baby is determined by the skin to skin time and allowing your baby to find the breast and the general feeling of love for your baby. If you are at risk of a post-partum haemorrhage your primary medical carer will encourage a managed 3rd stage as it is quicker and gives them more control. It doesn’t remove the risk of a post-partum bleed entirely. Partially retained placenta is when some of the maternal side of the placenta does not release completely from the uterine wall. This is a serious problem and can require surgery. A managed 3rd stage requires some tugging from the attending obgyn or midwife and the risk to that action causing the above is not unheard of. The concoction of hormones that are set off to support the onset and progression of labour are designed to play a significant role in your pain relief, progression of labour, healing, babys first latch, milk supply and includes the delivery of your placenta.

Delayed “Optimum” Cord Clamping – Science didn’t have a medical reason to cut the cord immediately after birth. It just started happening in the early 1900’s as obstetric care became more popular and everything became about omitting risk as opposed to the potential natural benefits of certain natural process’s. Did you know that is the same with birthing our babies on back? There is no science supporting it as the best position to birth our baby. As women we instinctively go with gravity and often stood, squatted, were on all fours or what ever position felt most conducive to delivering our baby. It was King Henry VIII who wanted to watch the birth of one of his wives and do so ‘comfortably’ for him meant having the women lie down. Since then it started to become the fashionable thing to do and then again became the norm with obstetric care as it made it easier for the attending medical team to see what was going on. What has since been discovered are the benefits of Optimum cord clamping. It is an idea that can transform the health of our children. Taking charge of our own health is fundamental to taking ownership for our health and wellbeing in a system that cannot meet its demand. If we want to change big things fast, we must know how we can make a difference. “Tick Tock” is a participatory campaign. But first a few things you need to know.

Allow 90 seconds after the birth of your baby to allow essential blood, stem cells, hormones and oxygen to be pumped back into the baby via the umbilical cord. This Increases blood volume by 1/3 in your baby, this supports your baby in essential iron for brain and physical development in the early weeks after baby is born and while breastfeeding is being established. Supports the baby in getting essential oxygen in the first minute out of the womb while baby adjusts and starts breathing. There is a difference in baby’s who get more oxygen then others at birth. 1/7 babys at birth get sub optimal amounts of oxygen at the time of birth. Some side effects of not getting enough oxygen at the time of birth are learning difficulties, developmental delay, cerebal palsy and epilepsy. Iron carries red blood cells around our body which essentially carries oxygen around our body. 2 billion people world wide suffer from iron deficiency. By allowing the blood that is still in the placenta at the time of birth to continue pumping into your baby you will be giving your baby the gift of essential iron stores that will support them not only in the essential days, weeks and months after birth but for their lifetime. To give your child this gift all you need to do is: Wait for the cord to stop pulsating before cutting it. Have it written on your birth plan and discuss with your obstetrician or midwife before your birth. Have a doula to ensure your wish is adhered to in the delivery room – there can be a lot going on and it will give you peace of mind knowing that someone else knows what you want and will ensure it is done.If you are having a cesarean – same thing ask your obstetrician if he can wait before cutting the umbilical cord. This should be easier with an elective cesarean. Basically if there is no medical reason to cut the cord straight away then leave it until it stops pulsating.

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