Magical Umbilical Cord
Your baby's umbilical cord is the lifeline between you and your baby. It transports nutrients to the baby and also carries away the baby's waste. It is made up of three blood vessels – two arteries and one vein. This amazing structure is filled with vital nutrients and oxygenated blood.
In the womb, the umbilical cord delivers the oxygen and nutrients needed to allow your baby to grow and stay healthy. Sometimes a baby will wrap themselves in their cord when they are small enough to do so. They may also create a knot called a "true Knot" by swimming around and through a loop of the cord. In fact, it's reported that "true knots" in the umbilical cord ranges between 0.3% to 2.1% of all pregnancies. A rare & amazing site to see. Being wrapped in their cord or having a true knot is not usually a complication. Most babies who have their cord wrapped around their neck or body have no complications in birth and the provider will just simply unravel them on their way out. We've had some pretty tangled up baby's that required some maneuvering and even some flipping but they were perfectly healthy and fine immediately after. A healthy nutrient filled diet during pregnancy helps your baby grow healthy and strong and creates a nice healthy "juicy" thick cord. The thick juicy cord, "as we like to call it", is more likely to ensure your baby has lots of oxygen and girth to prevent complications if they do get wrapped in it. After birth, the cord is plump, yellow in appearance and the vessels are usually thick and purple. The yellow transparent part of the cord is called "Whartons Jelly".
Wharton's Jelly is a gelatinous substance. Its main function is to insulate and protect the umbilical cord in the womb. It's connective tissue is primarily made of collagen and proteoglycans. This amazing substance protects the vessels and their vital stem cells. After a while when the cord is left to pulsate and delayed cord clamping is honored, the cord will start to shrink and flatten as the baby receives all of the oxygenated, nutrient, stem cell filled blood. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour after birth. Allowing the cord to naturally stop pulsating helps your baby transition smoothly. Once the cord is ready to be clamped and cut, it has no nerve endings so it will not hurt the baby at all. Some people choose not to cut the cord and allow it to naturally dry off on its own. This is called a lotus birth and requires some preparation prior to birth to ensure it's done correctly. It is often wrapped in fabric or kept in a bag or bowl. Usually, parents treat the placenta with herbs such as lavender, rosemary, and salts. Having the bag or bowl along with the herbs and salts before birth is important to ensure the process is done safely and correct. Some other options that have been chosen by parents, is to save the stem cells and umbilical cord tissue. This is called cord blood banking. This is another process that must be arranged prior to birth. There are many companies that bank cord blood and it requires you to set up an account and receive your collections kit to bring with you in labor. The collection kit will allow your provider to draw blood from the cord into a sterile pouch to be saved at the bank of your choice. This can be done while the baby is still attached and receiving some of the blood as well. Once the cord is cut, then a piece of it is also sent out with the cord blood. There are many benefits of cord blood banking that can be researched and decided if it's a good choice for your family. So when you see that gooey cord attached to your baby, remember the amazing magical things it has done and can do for your baby.