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Umbilical Cord – The Miracle Cord That Saves Lives
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The umbilical cord is a miracle super highway between mother and baby, but what do we really know about it?

First of all the umbilical cord is formed round about the 5th week of fetal development. It consists of two arteries and one vain. It is all wrapped in a gelatinous substance. It is connected to the baby via the belly button, to mommy’s placenta. It has two lanes, one carries all the necessary nutrients and oxygen to the baby, and then the other lane that runs the other way carries all waste products back to mommy. And by the time your baby is born, the umbilical cord is about 56cm in length.

New recent discoveries have been made that reveals that it is more than a passive link between mother and baby. It is a lot smarter than that. For example, it responds by lengthening when you have a more active baby, this way it gives your energetic busy body of a baby more slack to move around and make all the somersaults it needs. In other words giving your baby more rope to play and jump with. The a few days before birth the cord already knows this and starts to chemical process to prepare itself in anticipation of being severed from the baby.

It is a sad history to me, but less than a generation ago, many delivery rooms still had a no-go policy for dads. Moms were alone in the delivery process, and dad had to stay outside and wait. How horrible that must have been. Luckily these days the dad gets the honor of cutting the very important magical umbilical cord himself. This is absolutely a wonderful way to include dad in the birth process and experience.

Generally the umbilical cord is cut within the first minute after birth, although there are new studies that show it is beneficial to baby to milk the cord a bit before cutting it. Milking the umbilical cord is a process where the umbilical cord is milked a few times in the direction from the placenta end towards the baby. This has been found to increase the transfer of red blood cells, and it improves your baby’s blood pressure directly postpartum.

There is another practice that is apparently gaining popularity these says, it is called a lotus birth. This is a practice where the umbilical cord is not cut after birth at all. It is left attached to the placenta, and left to dry out naturally. In this case it will separate between three and ten days after birth. It is mainly seen by moms as a special kind of ritual where baby has a chance to slowly and naturally separate from mother’s body at his own pace. That is absolutely a personal choice I would say.

Around the globe, there are lots of different beliefs and traditions surrounding the umbilical cord. In western cultures sentimentality comes second to the practical and health uses of the umbilical cord. To be more specific, the blood from the umbilical cord, which is rich in stem cells are considered to be the most important object after baby’s birth.

The cord blood that is stored after birth can be used as a replacement for bone marrow and be transplanted to treat leukaemia. It can be used to treat genetic diseases, immune system diseases, many types of cancers and blood disorders. It is a bit expensive, you can have your baby’s cord blood collected and stored until he is 21 years old. Your baby’s umbilical cord, his lifeline in the womb contains blood that could save lives, his own life and that of others. This is a decision that is not to be taken lightly, but should be considered by everyone nowadays.

Every single day holds the possibility of a miracle.


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