We often hear that we should delay the clamping of the baby’s umbilical cord until it stops pulsing after birth. We know that the placenta has 1/3 of the baby’s blood volume and by delaying clamping, we are giving our baby the oxygen-rich blood needed to thrive. But what if I were to tell you that clamping actually isn’t necessary at all? Wharton’s Jelly, named after anatomist Thomas Wharton, is nature’s cord clamp and your baby has exactly what it needs to get the clamping job done, no intervention necessary.
There are 2 arteries and 1 vein inside the umbilical cord that are responsible for fetal circulation. The arteries carry waste and deoxygenated blood away from the baby and the vein is responsible for bringing oxygen to the baby by way of the placenta. The arteries and vein are protected by a thick, gelatinous substance within the cord called Wharton’s Jelly.
Once the baby is born, the Wharton’s Jelly reacts to the change in temperature outside of the mother’s body by collapsing on the vein and arteries. By doing this, the Wharton’s Jelly acts as a clamp within 5-20 minutes after birth. Once the cord has finished pulsing and clamping is complete, it will be limp and white in color.
Instead of taking the time to clamp the cord after birth, something we just learned is pointless, just hold and enjoy looking in the eyes of your fresh, new baby. It’s certainly a time you will cherish forever.