Well, it means giving the uterus and your body time to work to birth the placenta without cord traction (cord traction is where the midwife pulls on the cord which is attached to the placenta to bring it down the birth path). BUT HANG ON A MINUTE. I think the NICE guidelines give a recommendation of 60 minutes to deliver the placenta. Take your time.
In the fully developed human, the heart serves two main purposes. The right heart pumps blood to the lungs for oxygenation and the left heart pumps oxygenated blood to rest of the body. In the embryo and fetus, the lungs do not oxygenate the blood. Fetal circulation is consequently quite different than that of a breathing baby or adult. In the embryo and fetus, most of the blood bypasses the lungs via two shunts. The first shunt allows blood to flow from the right atrium to the left atrium. The second shunt allows blood that makes it to the pulmonary veins to flow directly into the aorta. When a baby is born and takes its first breathes, the ducts close and blood is rerouted to the lungs.
When your baby is born there is so much happening in their wonderful body that requires patience from medical care givers. Take it easy, slow emergence.
Delay cord clamping – YOU can choose when to cut and clamp the cord. Remember that when your baby is born upto one third of their blood is still in the placenta and cord – it is the baby’s blood not mum’s. Sometimes cords can pulsate for 10 minutes, 15 minutes….
So when the baby first breathes they are actually getting oxygen through the cord from the placenta and their lungs – how clever. So leave the cord; if you have a rich and juicy and pulsating cord leave it alone. Your baby’s organs will be grateful for the full compliment of red blood cells and all that iron and the stem cell infusion too. Your baby will have more energy to feed, thus keeping your surges going for the birth of the placenta as the nipple stimulation from suckling leads to more oxytocin production.
When you go through your birth plan at week 36/37 with your midwives I would urge you to discuss the ‘physiological third stage’. Make sure that you can be supported in your wishes. Will you be able to get into a birthing position and use your surges to breathe the placenta out. Maintaining the kind of birthing environment you need to remain in the parasympathetic state and to be oxytocic.
Remember that placentas need to drain and that keeping the cord unclamped also allows the messages from your baby’s body to travel back through the cord to the placenta almost instructing it to come away. I like to think of it as the baby’s lungs messaging the placenta to say ‘We are now fully operational, thank you for your work placenta and now you may come away and make your way out. See you soon and thank you for everything because you have done a miraculous job’, The Lungs.
More to come on this. Please let me know your thoughts.