Magic Umbilical Cords
"I am amazed by just about everything having to do with birth….mothers, the creation of babies from a sperm and egg, the childbirth process, the placenta, the umbilical cord…
Aaahhhh….that umbilical cord. That magical connection that grows life. It filters, it provides, it knows when to start and it knows when baby no longer needs it.
I’ve often tried to explain to people the incredible changes that happen at birth – including to the umbilical cord – but I’ve had a hard time finding images to demonstrate what I’m trying to explain.
Until now! I recently attended a birth and asked the mother permission to take photographs of her baby’s umbilical cord to document the changes it goes through after the birth – and she said yes!
Umbilical cords have two arteries and a vein that run the length of it. Those three vessels are surrounded by a special substance called Wharton’s Jelly. This jelly is thick and gelatinous when functinoal – this is to prevent the baby from accidentally causing it to kink and stop functioning (even true knots in the cord rarely cause problems because the Wharton’s Jelly prevents it from being able to tighten down and occlude blood flow to baby!)
When baby is born, this cord continues to function, providing the baby with not only blood and oxygen – but providing baby TIME! Time to transition to air breathing, experiencing the changes that babies go through at birth. As long as that cord is pulsing, it’s working for the baby the exact same way it did before the baby came out.
Once baby’s breathing and the cord is no longer needed, it goes through its own transformation. The Wharton’s Jelly in the cord begins to liquify…tightening down on those vessels…clamping them off naturally. The cord slowly becomes thin, white, limp – dramatic changes from the thick purple pulsing entity it was when the baby was born!
Not clamping or cutting the cord until this transformation has occurred provides the baby with the benefit of extra blood, oxygen, gentleness and time!
Here you can see the magical changes of the cord! These pictures are ALL of the same umbilical cord…progressively taken over time.
THE FOLLOWING PICTURES WERE TAKEN OVER A PERIOD OF ABOUT 15 MINUTES – BABY WAS ATTACHED THE ENTIRE TIME…."
Brand new! Right after birth the cord is thick, pulsing. We could actually SEE it thumping with the baby's heartbeat.
There's already a difference!! Look at how much thinner it is - less purple, less 'tight'...
same piece of cord, same angle....now MUCH whiter, much thinner. But still not done with the transformation! You might think so though, huh! No...just wait.
NOW we are pretty much finished with the transformation. Compare this to the top picture of the same piece of cord....
Completely done, Wharton's Jelly has liquified, the cord is not pulsing...it is thin, white, and very limp. Amazing!