Giving birth is tiring, exciting, boring, painful and amazing. When your baby first comes into the world, it can be overwhelming to watch doctors, midwives or nurses pull, grab, poke, prod and cut. One moment that many parents like to memorialize is when the umbilical cord is cut. This is often done by the father and many parents make sure to take a photograph.
Does cutting the umbilical cord hurt the baby?
The umbilical cord contains two arteries and one vein surrounded by a substance called Wharton’s Jelly. Cutting the umbilical cord does not hurt the baby because the umbilical cord does not contain any nerves. Cutting through the cord is similar to cutting nails or hair; it can’t be felt.
Although cutting the cord itself doesn’t physically hurt the baby, cutting the cord too soon can impact on baby’s health because baby may miss out on up to 1/3 of its blood volume. It’s best to wait at least 2-5 minutes after birth before cutting the umbilical cord to allow this rich post birth transfusion of oxygen, iron and stem cells to be delivered to baby. Read more about delayed cord clamping.
Does cutting the umbilical cord hurt the mother?
The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta, which is what attached directly into the mother’s uterine wall during pregnancy and helped provide nutrients and filter out waste for baby. After birth, the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus and is pushed out by small contractions, usually in a 5-60 minute time frame after birth.
Cutting the umbilical cord itself won’t hurt the mother, for the same reasons it won’t hurt the baby; the cord contains no nerves. However if the cord is shorter than average, it can tug on the placenta when the mother attempts to bring baby up to her chest, causing problems if the placenta has yet to fully detach from the uterus. Another issue is if a card provider pulls on the cord without proper training in the use of and methods for CCT (controlled cord traction).