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How To Cut Umbilical Cord

by Dan Hughes
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How To Cut Umbilical Cord

How To Cut Umbilical Cord

The umbilicus is the opening at the base of the placenta that attaches the baby to the mother. The umbilicus has two layers, an outer layer called the skin and inner lining called the amnion. It also contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. A tiny muscle called the falciform ligament connects the two layers of the umbilicus. This muscle can be used as a guide for cutting the cord.
The procedure begins after delivery when the doctor decides to cut the cord. There are several methods to do this including clamping, ligation, coiling, cauterizing, and slicing. Clamping the cord with a tourniquet will stop the flow of blood from the umbilicus. Ligating the cord means using clamps to control the bleed while cauterizing burns off the end of the blood vessel. Slicing the cord uses sharp surgical blades to separate the top part from the bottom part of the cord which allows the umbilicus to close back up. Coiling the cord involves twisting together small loops of the umbilical cord until they form a tight coil. Cauterization is performed by burning the ends of the umbilical cord to seal off the blood supply. All of these techniques involve tying off the umbilical cord so that there is no connection between the baby and the mother. Cutting the cord without tying off the cord allows some bleeding to occur but keeps all the nutrients in the cord intact.
When performing a cesarean section, the nurse must make sure that the operating room table is sterilized before beginning the process of removing the placenta. Once the cord stump has been removed, it should be placed into a clean container and sent immediately to the lab for testing. If the cord stump is contaminated with bacteria or viruses, then the lab will have to notify you if you are allowed to breastfeed. In addition, if you are scheduled for surgery within six hours of giving birth, then the hospital will need to test the cord blood for any potential infections.
In most cases, babies who were born vaginally will have their cords clipped rather than tied off. The method of clipping the umbilical cord depends on what type of birth you had. When the head emerges during natural childbirth, the midwife clips the cord just above where it meets the pubic bone. However, if the head comes out through use of forceps or vacuum extraction, the obstetrician may decide to tie off the cord below the navel. For a vaginal birth after a previous cesarean section, the physician usually ties off the umbilical cord at the level of the incision site. During general anesthesia, the surgeon does not clip the cord because he needs to know exactly how much tension is being exerted on the body parts.
Forces applied to the abdomen during surgery can cause stretching of the umbilical cord which is why physicians check its length before closing the abdominal wall. In order to determine the amount of stretch on the cord, doctors use special gauges to measure the distance between the belly button and the tip of the umbilical cord. These gauges are made from soft metal and have numbers marked along them ranging from one to eight inches. After determining the length of the umbilical cord, the obstetrician cuts the cord with either blunt-tipped scissors or a scalpel. Both types of tools are considered safe since cutting the cord only requires making a shallow vertical slit at the point where the fetal membranes meet the skin.
If you plan to breastfeed, the nurse at the birthing center will help you figure out whether you want to use breastfeeding pads or nursing bras. Breastfeeding pads are worn over the nipples and allow milk to pass directly from the breasts into the infant. Nursing bras, also known as support bras, work like underwire bras except instead of supporting the breasts, they provide extra support to the chest muscles. Both types of accessories hold the breast firmly against the chest wall allowing breastmilk to pass freely to the baby.
After the umbilical cord has been cut, the neonatologist will begin taking care of the newborn. He or she will begin monitoring vital signs such as breathing rate, heart beat, temperature, and reflex movements. Other tests include checking the APGAR score (the first three minutes) and evaluating the health of the newborn. Babies that require more intensive care will stay in the neonatal unit until they are able to go home.
While the umbilical cord may seem unsightly, it plays an important role in our lives. Not only does the umbilicus deliver oxygenated blood to the fetus, but it provides nourishment. The umbilicus also serves as an anchor point for attaching the placenta to the uterine wall. As we age, we slowly lose the elasticity of our skin which causes us to sag down around the waistline. Our bodies grow even smaller as time goes on until eventually we become wrinkled old men and women. But don’t forget about those cute little infants; the next generation will continue growing and developing right beneath our sagging abdomens!

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