Still think it doesn't matter how long we wait before we clamp the cord? A new study shows 4-year-olds have better neurological development if they didn't have immediate cord clamping, especially boys. Seems to me, these studies should have been done before we adopted an intervention in a natural process, not years later.
My mom always laughed about the time she went to a quilting bee with several of her grandmother's friends while pregnant. As she reached across the quilt to do some stitching the old ladies gasped and chided her, "Don't raise your arms above your head! You'll wrap that baby's cord around its neck!" She took the advice with a grain of salt, but the image of a baby being strangled with its own cord can be terrifying to parents if they don't know the facts.
Another scenario is when sometimes the person catching the baby will announce, "Hold on, the cord's around the neck." If the parents don't understand what that means they might think something's wrong with the birth, but this actually very common not a complication. Hopefully, the health care provider will explain that are just pulling on the cord a little to see if it's very tight. If it's not tight they'll loop it over baby's head, but even that's not necessary. Remember, baby is bringing one end of the cord with him, so it's usually not holding him back. If it's very tight the provider will quickly clamp and cut the cord, but even very tight cords do not hurt the baby.
Folks from my generation might remember the E.R. episode where Dr. Carter's baby suddenly died a few weeks before the due date because the cord got a knot in it. This is a tragic event, but is not the same as what happens when the cord is around the neck. The umbilical cord is made to resist kinks and knots that will restrict blood flow. Ultimately, the things that can go wrong with the cord like a true very tight knot are not preventable at all, but they aren't common, either. So relax, drink some water, eat a healthy snack, and only worry about the things you can actually do something about.
To understand all you need to know about how the cord works and the research showing how common and harmless it is please read this article from Bellybelly.
I'm a natural childbirth educator, lactation consultant (IBCLC), and doula in Athens, AL. Here is where I put healthy recipes, current research, and helpful articles for pregnancy, postpartum, and life in general. Check back often!