Thoughts on the cord… and not the invisible one that attaches me to my dogs


I know that some of you think I give Maggie a hard time – always teasing her on the blog for being a few crayons short of a full pack – but I love her so much.  In five weeks or so, her world is gonna be rocked by the new baby (um, if she even notices that there is a new baby in our midst… she really might not).  I hope she adjusts well; I know James will be fine.  I’ve been giving her lots of extra kisses lately just in case.  

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On that note… Happy 35 Weeks, BabyHTP!  Here’s what you are up to this week – besides causing all sorts of weird pregnancy symptoms: “Your baby doesn’t have much room to maneuver now that he’s over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5.25 pounds. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he’ll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.” (Source)  I read that the baby’s body fat percentage is currently 15% and will bulk up to 30% before birth.  Neat!


All in all, I feel pretty good for nearly 9 months pregnant.  I’m sleeping well, movin’ my body at least three times a week (lots of walking and swimming), and trying to eat healthy.  A huge part of me just wants to meet the baby already – I wish I could accelerate time!  The biggest question on my mind is definitely BOY OR GIRL? BOY OR GIRL? It keeps me up at night!


What do you guys think? Boy or girl? Our families think it’s a boy (my mom is voting girl). Most of my friends say girl, though.

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(People have been asking about my maternity clothes – I’ve gotten everything at Destination Maternity – in the budget mom section – and Target.  I’ve bought about a week and a half’s worth of pieces, and it works well; I own 7 tops, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of dress pants, and 4 dresses; the dresses were all recent gifts.)


So – this week, I thought it would be interesting to discuss our plans for the cord.  The cord – what connects the baby to the placenta – isn’t usually given much thought.  It’s simply clamped and cut.  But like most things relating to pregnancy, we’ve been doing a ton of research to decide if we want to go about things in a slightly different way than the traditional medical model.


(Source – I thought I’d spare you of a real-life cord pic, although I think it’s pretty cool.)


So, when the baby comes out, the cord is connected between the baby and the placenta, which is still inside the mom (I’ve been told that the placenta is normally delivered within an hour after birth).  Under normal circumstances in a hospital birth, the cord is clamped within a minute of delivery; in some areas, such as Mexico City, it occurs within 17 seconds of birth on average (Source).  Once it’s clamped, it cannot be ‘unclamped.’  The act of clamping cuts off the exchange of blood between the placenta and baby; the cord is then cut. 


However, as I understand things, there are several different options for dealing with the cord.


  • First, you can delay the cord clamping.  Why would you want to do this?  For one, delaying clamping for at least 2 minutes reduces the baby’s risk of anemia because more iron is transferred from the placenta to the baby (Source; Source).  This benefit has been shown to last for as long as the first four months of a baby’s life – with iron concentrations that are up to 45% higher (Source).  Some people worry that there are risks relating to delayed cord clamping, such as jaundice, but several studies have failed to find a link.  A delay in clamping can also provide the baby with the equivalent of 21% of the infant’s final blood volume – woah! (Source)  Some professionals advise waiting to clamp the cord until a certain moment in time – generally 2 – 3 minutes – but others recommend waiting until the cord stops throbbing or pulsating.


  • Second, you can skip clamping and cutting entirely.  This is called a ‘lotus birth.’  In this case, the cord is allowed to naturally break off (it can take around three days); the mother wraps the placenta up in a towel and carries it with the baby until this point. The placenta may be treated with special herbs as well.


  • And lastly, you can privately bank the baby’s cord blood (edited to add: you can also bank the cord blood for public use). The blood in the cord is a rich source of stem cells, which can be frozen and stored for later use – for example, if the child develops leukemia or a host of other diseases.  When you’re pregnant, you’re hit with advertisements for cord blood banking right and left – cord blood banking is a huge business because it is very expensive to do.  However, the practice is extremely controversial, as it requires very early clamping of the cord.  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages cord blood banking for self-use (there are public banks as well); many other associations have expressed issues with the private cord blood banking industry.  The likelihood of a healthy, low-risk child needing their own cord blood is estimated to be 1 in 20,000; furthermore, they may not even be able to use their own cells for a variety of reasons. (Source)


For me, the choice was clear.  I’m not going to carry around my placenta for three days (although I am going to eat it…), and I’m not going to pay thousands of dollars for the off chance my child will need stem cells, especially since cord blood banking is an all-or-nothing thing (you can’t delay clamping to give the child immediate benefits and still bank). So, we’re going to delay clamping until the cord stops pulsating.  


The only problem?  Although there is a growing amount of research that delaying clamping is very beneficial to the health of the baby, many hospitals still practice early clamping.  As far as I can tell, the main reason for early clamping is that it is procedure.  Baby comes out, clamp goes on; at many hospitals, the birth team simply goes into automatic mode.  We have been told that we need to be really on top of the birth team (in a nice way, of course) to ensure early clamping does not occur because it happens so swiftly (our request is also written into our birth plan).  I think one of the Husband’s biggest challenges at birth is to not get caught up in the excitement of the moment and forget to remind the birth team that we don’t want early clamping.  The Husband will ask them to delay clamping, and after several minutes, he will verify that the pulsating has stopped by feeling the cord with his fingers.


I do feel like I end up questioning something at every point in this journey.  I’m usually not really comfortable just doing what is ‘done;’ I want to know why I should do it.  If you can give me a good reason, great!  I’ll do it!  But I need to know why, and I have a feeling that won’t stop when the baby is here. Very often, like so many things in life, the answer to my ‘why’ doesn’t seem crystal clear.  I’ve found that, with pregnancy and birth, the choice of whether to participate in many procedures comes with an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks.  Honestly, it is very hard to make most of these parenting decisions for both the Husband and I.  Should I get this test? Should I take this supplement or that one?  Should I get this shot? Should I allow them to bathe the baby immediately?  What should I do in this scenario or that one?  All in all, I’m pretty good at having a panic-free pregnancy but, like I said, making all these decisions is very challenging!  The cord debate was a nice one to research because, for our family, the answer did seem obvious – for once!  Delaying clamping seems like a small and easy request that can potentially make a big difference in the health of our child.


Your turn – I’d love to hear your thoughts on clamping.  I’d also love to hear your thoughts on making tough parenting decisions.  Do the options and different opinions drive you crazy or do you like doing research?  What decisions were easy and which were hard?  This varies, I’m sure, so much from person to person!



  • Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) May 9, 2012, 3:44 pm

    I love how well you research everything! They clamped ours immediately, but I donated the cord blood for both. I hope that my donation helped others or went towards good research.

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2012, 3:45 pm

      Oh GREAT point – this is the fourth option, I guess!

      • Heather May 9, 2012, 3:48 pm

        Oh if you want it donated (if delayed clamping doesn’t happen for whatever reason)make sure you get paperwork signed ahead of time- we didn’t have enough time!

  • Heather May 9, 2012, 3:45 pm

    I too had planned on delayed clamping, but when it came to that moment it didn’t happen. They thought something was wrong bc he wasnt crying and needed to take him.right away. I was ok with it bc 1. Obviously I wanted my baby to get what ever care he needed and 2 (more importantly) I’d made sure not to get my heart set on anything going a set specific way and to just go qith the flow as needed. These choices seem SO important before you give birth but in that exact moment you just need to make the best decisions you can and not worry too much about every tiny detail. 😉

    • Louise May 9, 2012, 11:37 pm

      This is what happened with us. I wanted to delay the cord cutting and deliver the placenta naturally. My baby was nearly 4 weeks early so needed a little oxygen immediately. At that point nothing matters but what needs to be done. Also they had the give me the injection to deliver the placenta before my cervix closed…did I care? – nope, I had a beautiful perfectly healthy baby boy. He’s 5 weeks old now and has been growing rapidly since day 1 so if things don’t go to plan don’t worry about any ill effects. Good luck!

  • Lauren May 9, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I think delaying the clamp is a great choice and I plan to do this with my next child. We did bank ours because it was important to my husband but luckily we wont have to do it again. My son has had no problem with any deficiencies and is perfectly healthy but whatever choice is right for your family is the correct one.

  • Amy May 9, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I’m going to get to meet my 3rd child in 6 weeks or less (a boy) and don’t forget there is also the option to donate the cord blood. That is what we are going to do and it is absolutely 100% FREE of charge to us. Not sure if it available at your hospital?

  • Jenny May 9, 2012, 3:48 pm

    I’m all for delayed clamping of the cord!!

  • Rachel May 9, 2012, 3:49 pm

    I’m 17 weeks pregnant and all the choices are driving my crazy. Even the ones I consider should be simple, should I have an epidural. Your doing well

  • Laura @ She Eats Well May 9, 2012, 3:49 pm

    This is so so interesting to me. I am no where near having a child anytime soon, but the options that you presented are very fascinating. I think I, too, would go with delaying the chord being cut. Sometimes, when I begin to look into options for important decisions, I drive myself crazy. It’s easy to do so when there is SO much information out there. However, it’s good to narrow down to a few…and go from there. Whatever you decide is best is the right decision for you. Great topic!

  • Erica May 9, 2012, 3:53 pm

    We wrote it into our birth plan to do delayed cord clamping (until it stopped pulsing) and went over this with my midwife. We also intended to donate cord blood (but I had my baby on a Sunday, when the donation team was not present). My hospital has the Baby Friendly certification from UNICEF, so the providers who deliver there are all familiar with delayed cord clamping.

    In the end, my baby had to be delivered by forceps, which requires immediate attention from the NICU team and so the cord had to be cut right after he was born. My midwife informed me of this as soon as we knew the forceps delivery was a necessity. I really appreciated that my midwife not only remembered that we wanted the delayed cutting, but also remembered to tell me about it in the heat of the moment so that I wouldn’t be surprised by it.

    Fortunately my baby was healthy and didn’t have issues with anemia or jaundice!

  • Kattrina May 9, 2012, 3:56 pm

    We are *hopefully* doing delayed clamping. The birth center where we are *planning* on giving birth doesn’t cut the cord until it stops pulsing, so it was super easy to decide.

    I feel like the research for pregnancy has been fairly easy – there are decisions and I can research them and make the choice that best fits me and my family. I have a feeling that parenthood is going to be so much harder. There are so many books and methods and I really think that my wants/desires are only 50% of the equation and I also have to pick the wants/needs of my child (based on personality, etc.). Plus, I have to make sure I’m on board, my husband’s on board, childcare is on board, etc. Yikes!

  • Kathleen Ojo @ Onward; Inward May 9, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Likewise, I plan to delay cord clamping until it stops pulsing (but definitely not for 3 days! Yikes!) Personally I kind of like making these sorts of decisions – researching, listening to different opinions, making a choice I feel confident in… I’m just so glad to have OPTIONS, and to have access to information that enable me to make an informed decision. I’m a big Type A control freak, so the thought of “going with the flow” when it comes to these kinds of things freaks me out. I know I won’t be in control of so most things when I go into labor (July!) but I want to control what I can, and I want to be well-read so that, no matter what happens during the process, I am never in the dark about what my body is doing or what others are doing to it or my baby.

    I think the harder decisions for me are the non-medical ones that come after the birth. Like, to cloth diaper or not to cloth diaper (I’m going to, god help me)? To invest in a jogging stroller or not? Do I really NEED one of those huge baby swings taking up half my apartment, or should I skip it? Oy!

  • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2012, 4:08 pm

    I am going to delay the eye ointment but in NC, you have to go in front of the COURT to get a pass to skip it!

    • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life May 9, 2012, 4:29 pm

      Wow! That is crazy! Why do they make you go in front of the court for eye ointment???

      • Caitlin May 9, 2012, 4:34 pm

        Because they really don’t want people to skip it. We are going to ask them to delay it until the end of the first hour (legally it has to be done in an hour) to maximize bonding time first.

        • Sunny May 9, 2012, 4:57 pm

          IL is the same way. I wish I understood better why it is required.

        • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life May 9, 2012, 5:18 pm

          Sunny, my understanding is that it helps prevent baby from possible infection while traveling down the birth canal. It is also important if mom has gonorrhea or chlamydia to ensure those bacteria aren’t passed on to the baby. I think it is super important if mom has any type of vaginal bacteria but if the region is clear and mom and baby seem healthy I don’t feel that it is necessary. My OB/GYN and the Pediatrician also didn’t think it was a problem to skip.

        • Marissa C May 10, 2012, 12:31 am

          This is what we did. Worked well enough…we were warned about the same CPS stuff. Ironically my husband is studying for the boards and just found a medical reason not to do it–he was really excited. It was an increased risk of something pyloric stenosis. Maybe we’ll pull that out next time 😉

        • Marissa C May 10, 2012, 12:32 am

          Pyloric Stenosis. Not “Something Pyloric Stenosis” 😉

        • jane May 10, 2012, 4:17 pm

          i understand the desire to want to bond to your baby, but if the state has such an interest in the health of the baby that they make you go in front of a court to petition not to have it done, doesnt that seem like it is something important that should be done to the baby? i just am so surprised at all the lengths that people go to to “go against the grain”. over on kath’s blog i really loved the link that she had yesterday about the “crunchy mom” who wanted au natural and was a little holier than thou about it and ended up having a hospital birth and shoving all that info she touted. i just dont see how people are so anti doctors-they’re not all bad!!! i havent had a baby and am not pregnant, so maybe i shouldnt talk!

        • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 4:27 pm

          Jane – I thought that was a good post that Kath linked to, too! I come from the mindset that just because something is ‘done’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or wise or necessary. The state of NC is so firm on making sure people get these eye drops because, ultimately, they don’t want taxpayers to have to pay for the services to help babies who become infected with an STD and grow up to be blind adults. My OBGYN says that this law will probably end up being repealed in NC in the next decade or so, as so many other states are not as strict when the mothers have clean STD tests.

        • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 4:28 pm

          For what it’s worth, I am not too bothered by the eye ointments, I just want to wait until the end of the first hour. I choose my battles. 😉

    • Hilary May 9, 2012, 8:13 pm

      Can’t you do colostrum in the eyes instead of the ointment? That’s pretty common in Ohio. I can’t believe it isn’t an option everywhere! We did that with our son and planning on it with the next one.

      • Ellie May 9, 2012, 11:33 pm

        My daughter was born in WA state. I wanted to skip the eye ointment and put colostrum in her eyes. When I told the nurses my wishes they informed me that if I declined the eye drops they would be forced to call Child Protective Services on me. I was hormonal and tired so I let them do it, against my better judgement. In retrospect I’m sure CPS had more pressing issues than me and nothing would have come of it but there is not much to do now.

        • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:25 am

          Yup – in NC, if you refuse, they open a CPS case on your family. It’s not a big deal because they have bigger fish to fry but I wouldn’t want that on my ‘record.’ Gotta choose my battles.

  • Tara May 9, 2012, 4:13 pm

    We had planned on doing delayed clamping, but just like everything else I found out both during and after labor, sometimes things change quickly. In the end, delayed clamping didn’t happen, but both baby and I were healthy and safe so I was happy. There are a ton of choices and a ton of people willing to offer their opinion, but in the end I think you have to find out what works best for you and your baby and it might look totally different than it does now, or it might be the same. My go-to parenting word is flexibility, because having a baby really does change everything!! 🙂

  • Jen May 9, 2012, 4:18 pm

    We are planning to waiting on cord clamping as well, until the pulsing stops. I’ve discussed it with the midwife and they have no problems with this, and like you my husband will need to be on alert to make sure that nobody goes into “automatic mode” and clamps early out of habit.

    I think that becoming a parent includes lots of tough decisions- some people like to researcha and know why while other trust the judgement of others- you have to do what you’re comfortable with. For me I need to research and know why.

    Next big decision is picking a Pediatrician, I feel almost more overwhelmed by that than the actually birthing that is ahead of me.

  • Mari May 9, 2012, 4:25 pm

    Thankfully, our hospital’s birthing center is incredibly progressive so delaying cord clamping until pulsing ends is standard. We’re very, very lucky to be living here right now! I appreciate your research on this as I hadn’t figured out that you couldn’t delay clamping AND bank/donate cord blood. Very good to know.

    Also, I just need to say that you look so freakin’ fantastic! Do you mind sharing where your dress in the photos is from? I love it — I may want to steal the idea for my baby shower in June. 🙂

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:24 am

      Target. Have fun at your baby shower!

  • sara May 9, 2012, 4:27 pm

    We’re also delaying clamping until it stops pulsating this time. With our last, I wanted to, but the hospital wouldn’t allow it. This time, we’re having our baby at a birth center.

  • Kelly May 9, 2012, 4:29 pm

    I had no idea there were even options concerning clamping the cord! What a great post!

  • Jen May 9, 2012, 4:47 pm

    You’ll be fine! When we had W back in Nov, CMC was in the process of making delayed cord cutting the rule of thumb. Even if it’s not by now, I’m sure they’ll let you wait. They let us wait until Jeff said he was ready to cut it.

  • Kellie May 9, 2012, 4:48 pm

    Where did you get that dress your wearing in the picture!? so pretty!

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:23 am


  • Annette@FitnessPerks May 9, 2012, 5:00 pm

    You look pretty in your pictures!!

  • Sarah @ Long Legs Healthy Life May 9, 2012, 5:09 pm

    My daughter was born 3 weeks ago, and we delayed clamping her cord until it stopped pulsing. I had a midwife for my pregnancy and my labour went so fast that my daughter was born at home! My husband caught the baby and put her on my belly. The cord pulsed for about 5 minutes and then the midwife clamped it, and my hubby cut it. She was a little bit janudiced for the first day, but it cleared up really quickly.

    Good luck with Baby HTP, I can’t wait to find out if you have a boy or a girl!

  • Nat May 9, 2012, 5:17 pm

    I saw you in The Doctor’s TV Show!!! Congrats!!!

  • Katie May 9, 2012, 5:20 pm

    We made the same decision as you- delayed clamping. I can’t imagine carrying around my placenta for three days but hey- to each her own! 😉

    Love your pictures- your dress is so pretty. I especially like Maggie’s face in the picture on the left. It’s like she’s saying “this is awkward…”. She’s so cute and such a riot! 🙂

  • Autumn Tao May 9, 2012, 5:27 pm

    I’m in the same boat as you–wait till the cord is done pulsating until it is cut. My midwives have said this is typical procedure for them, but I will also mention to my husband to be conscious of the nurses so they don’t accidentally do it. We are allowed to skip the eye gel in Jersey, so we plan to. PS-How excited are you to give birth? I haven’t let myself think too much about it just yet (due July 17), but today I found myself getting fired up to have this experience. It’s so good to be a woman! Cheers to your healthy pregnancy and Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Karla May 9, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Wow! Until this picture I had never realized how small Maggie is. So adorable! BTW, how are you dealing with the thought of pain during birth? Personally this is one thing that holds me back on making a decision to have kids. I know it sounds selfish but what can I say… I am a chicken 🙁

    • CaitlinHTP May 9, 2012, 6:03 pm

      I am not really that bothered by the thought of pain during childbirth. It’s just pain… pain is temporary. I do think that taking Bradley Method classes and learning coping mechanisms have made it easier, too. But I don’t think you should feel selfish for being nervous – it IS a pretty big deal. I would say that if you do get pregnant, take lots of classes and read lots of books. Knowledge is power!

      • Helena May 9, 2012, 10:04 pm

        “pain is temporary”

        Unless you have a chronic disease and then unfortunately severe pain can be a daily part of life. However, labour pain IS temporary and unlike chronic pain is manageable because you know there’s a set endpoint, you know there’s a purpose and why it’s happening, and you get something pretty great at the end of it, all going well. Chronic disease-related pain, I wouldn’t wish on anyone; labour pain is still ghastly, but it really is manageable.

        • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:23 am

          Said better than I said it : )

  • Sana May 9, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Maggie will always be my favorite part of HTP 🙂

  • Laura May 9, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I spoke with my boyfriend, who is in medical school, and I’m not sure why anyone would do the second option (leaving the placenta attached)–as no flow occurs after the it pulsates. That also sounds incredibly awkward, but to each their own! 🙂 Also–he says that the standard of care in medical school today is to delay clamping…

    I think it’s great to have plans, but it seems like something that is hard to guarantee, especially since I am sure that within moments of your child’s birth, you will not be thinking primarily about clamping of the cord. I think in the end, its important to just focus on being in the moment and enjoying the experience.

  • Brooke @ sweats & sweets May 9, 2012, 6:40 pm

    I’m not pregnant, my husband and I are not planning on children for a couple of more years but we regularly discuss what our birth plan would be. This is exactly what I want to do, I want our baby to receive as many beneficial things are possible, with whatever we can including delaying the clamping of the cord. I think more people need to be aware of what benefits it has for babies, as well as more hospitals need to give parents the options you’ve listed. I totally agree with you and Husband HTP with what y’all are doing! I just can’t wait to find out what y’all are having! I’m saying GIRL!

  • Elizabeth May 9, 2012, 7:16 pm

    Great decision!! I love how you are discussing the “less discussed” topics on the blog!! You are also looking wonderful! You wear? (I am not sure about that word choice!) pregnancy wonderfully!! Thank you again for sharing all of these decisions!

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:22 am

      Thank you sweetie!

  • Merry May 9, 2012, 7:19 pm

    As Kendra mentioned, another option in the mix is cord ‘milking’. Our hospital practices this rather than traditional delayed clamping. From what I’ve read, milking the cord gives a comparable volume of blood to the baby, and can happen faster than simply waiting. I’m thankful that this is standard protocol at our hospital and not something we have to remind or fight for in the aftermath of birth.

  • Lisa May 9, 2012, 7:22 pm

    I’ve never heard of this. But if it were me, I’d probably delay it too.

    I love your magenta dress. It looks fantastic! You’re nearing the end and you look great!

  • Liz May 9, 2012, 7:30 pm

    You might want to print out the JAMA abstract, bring it with you to the hospital and show it/mention it to your ob team. I’m a medical student and know that sometimes (a lot of times) Western and Traditional medicine can clash. Since JAMA is a really respected Western medicine journal and that’s a very well done study, actually seeing the article might make more of an impression on whoever is doing the clamping.

    • Lauren May 10, 2012, 11:18 am

      I 100% agree.

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie May 9, 2012, 7:37 pm

    I don’t know what our hospital procedure is on this but I do know that my midwife (who works for the hospital) automatically delayed. I was going to ask her to but didn’t have to at all! She even said as she laid him on my chest (skin to skin and ready for nursing) ‘we’ll just wait til it’s done pulsating before clamping’.

    Also, you should be totally alert and fine during your labor/delivery so don’t feel like the pressure has to be all on the husband. During labor sometimes speaking through contractions is really hard but your mind is there, it’s not like you’re in some bubble of ‘out of it’ ness.

  • Stacie May 9, 2012, 8:25 pm

    I’ll comment on cord blood as the delayed clamping was not even discussed when I had my kids. When I had my first son 15 years ago, banking cord blood was all the “new” rage and nearly all of my friends did it. I did the math and decided it was so unlikely to be needed that it was an unnecessary expense (and it was even pricier back then as it was not as competitive). I was looked at sideways for this at the time but it’s been fine. I thought back then it was a reasonable decision (although not popular) and I still think that now.

  • Stacie May 9, 2012, 8:30 pm

    One more comment–it’s great to have a plan but it does not always go how you want and you should be ok with it if that happens. Both times for me, I was at a birthing center that allows you to spend the first 2 hr with your baby before taking him away for general clean up and examination. Both times, there was some little “emergency” that prevented that. I hope that does not happen to you but in the end a healthy baby is all that matters!

  • Sarah May 9, 2012, 8:39 pm

    I’m a midwifery student, foodie and fitness lover and was delighted to stumble upon your blog yesterday, and to read your insightful and informed post today about the options around cord clamping in the postpartum period. It’s refreshing to see a blogger examining and looking at options outside of the highly medicalized model of birth in North America. Looking forward to following your journey!

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:21 am

      Thanks Sarah 🙂

  • Anna @ Blissfully Banana May 9, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Okay seriously, how are you at 35 weeks already!? It seems like just yesterday that you were just announcing that you were pregnant! PS I’m voting that I think it’s a GIRL! 😀

    Anyway, I think it’s nice for women to be able to have different options, I would wait until the cord stopped pulsing as well…it kind of seems like an obvious thing to do in my humble opinion!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery May 9, 2012, 8:53 pm

    I think it’s so awesome that you have put so much thought into the birth of your baby and what is best for your entire family. I love that you want to be informed about things that I think a lot of people either take for granted or just don’t know about (or maybe it’s just me, a 23 year old whose near future doesn’t involve kids so I don’t have a reason to research cords and placentas) but I really admire how you’ve handled your pregnancy and I’m really excited for you. 🙂

  • Rachel May 9, 2012, 8:59 pm

    As a disclaimer, I am not pregnant, have no children nor a medical background. However, I recommend banking cord blood. One of my colleague’s children was diagnosed with a fatal disease and was able to use the stem cells from the cord she had banked to save her child’s life. (The disease developed from environmental factors when her child was about four, I think, so they had made the decision to bank her cord blood for that “off chance.” They had no clue at the time of their child’s birth that she would later develop this disease.)

    Another woman I knew didn’t bank her child’s cord blood. Her child later developed a disease for which the cord blood could have been used. Her child, thankfully, is still alive, but leads a limited life. (She can’t participate in sports, and her life expectancy is mid-20s.) Her parents (who, by the way, are healthy and well educated) regrets her decision about the cord blood.

    I’m not sure how much it costs, so I really can’t speak about the decision in terms of finance. But I just wanted to let you know that the cord blood is extremely valuable should something like that happen. It is probably rare that I know two women whose children were in need of cord blood, but the fact that I do know two people means I will definitely bank the cord blood if I have a child.

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:21 am

      The first story is a miracle! And I feel so sad for the second child. 🙁

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies May 9, 2012, 9:09 pm

    A little off-topic, but have you read the book “Baby Catcher”? I’m LOVING it so far and learning so, so much about the history of birth practices.

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:20 am

      No I havent but it sounds good!

  • ilovefetacheese May 9, 2012, 9:37 pm

    Ha I just got my pertussis booster and I’m 26 🙂 The outbreak is not just limited to infants (although much more serious for them)…even adults are getting it! Very scary. My sister is a pediatrician and hates the sound of a baby with pertussis 🙁

    • Charity May 10, 2012, 6:09 am

      It scares me to think that a simple cough could take my baby’s life 🙁 Around here they are giving it to women in their third trimester just to make sure they don’t pass it on to their babies because of the huge outbreak of it.

  • carler May 9, 2012, 10:32 pm

    I’m curious where you got your maternity swim suit. I think I want to get beck into swimming and still have ten weeks to go.

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:17 am

      It’s just a regular swimsuit, two sizes larger than normal!

  • Gretchen May 9, 2012, 10:47 pm

    Topic for another post! If its a boy, will you circumcise? I just assumed we would with my son until my husband pointed out that its really unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Just another question to dig into!

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:18 am

      No, we’re not. While like all parenting decisions, this is up to the couple, we feel that we would be inflicting unnecessary trauma on the child, so it’s never even been an option. We are not of a religion that requires so neither of us see a reason to do it. There are health benefits to both circumsizing and not, and even the AAP says it’s unnecessary.

  • Claire May 9, 2012, 10:50 pm

    We actually recently had a grand rounds in the pediatrics department from a neonatologist about delayed cord clamping. Studies have shown that it is beneficial for ALMOST all babies, INCLUDING very preterm babies (the only ones who it wasn’t beneficial for were those who were known to need immediate intervention or had no Heart rate, etc). He basically said the same thing you did; that the delivery team is so used to clamping early that it is simply going to take time for them to get used to the delayed clamping. This is the same as any change in technique…it just takes some time to get used to.

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:16 am

      Awesome to hear this happened at your hospital! See? Medicine is always evolving!

  • Reenie May 9, 2012, 11:03 pm

    Maggie knows you love her ……that’s all that matters 🙂

    Cute dress ~ the color is great on you.

  • Ellie May 9, 2012, 11:16 pm

    I wanted to delay clamping, it was written in my birth plan and we told the doctor. Unfortunately, it really was routine at our hospital and in the excitement of seeing the new baby we just assumed they would respect our wishes but that was not the case. They clamped immediately without us noticing. I was not happy at the time but my girl is, and always has been , very healthy so I guess it wasn’t that big of a deal in the long run. Definitely be on top of it if you don’t want clamping but if you do get caught up in the love and excitement of a new baby and miss your opportunity to stop them don’t let it get to you. Your baby will still do great!

  • paige May 10, 2012, 12:29 am

    Leave the doctor’s job to the doctors. They are the experts. You need to relax.

    • Marissa C May 10, 2012, 12:34 am

      Gotta disagree…it’s your body and you have a right to be informed. If all doctors agreed on everything 100% I would say you are right, but that isn’t the case!

      I’m not a doctor hater, I swear. My husband is in med school!

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:12 am

      Oh Paige. I really hope you don’t think this. Doctors are humans. You can look over the course of medicine in the last 50 years and find numerous SERIOUS examples of ‘experts’ getting it totally, totally wrong. Doctors know a lot, but they don’t necessarily know everything (I’m not saying I do). Medicine is a constantly evolving field. Inform yourself of your options.

    • Lauren May 10, 2012, 11:16 am

      This is a ridiculous statement. Thousands of people die every year in the U.S. due to medical malpractice. People need to stop treating Dr’s like they are the ‘end-all be-all.’ It’s your body, your life and you need to be well-informed and educated regarding your own physiology and the choices you have.

      Oh, and by the way…I am currently in medical school. We still have much to learn.

  • Marissa C May 10, 2012, 12:33 am

    We were going to delay clamping and the hospital was fine with it. It was in our birth plan. However when my water broke there was thick meconium so her cord was cut immediately so she could be suctioned by a neonatal team. (She was fine) We were warned in advance so I didn’t have a problem with it. We’ll try again next time!

  • Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana May 10, 2012, 12:54 am

    I really appreciated your thoughtful consideration of all the options in this post, and all your pregnancy posts for that matter! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the research you’ve done, I’m sure it will help others.

  • jessika May 10, 2012, 1:08 am

    We had it in our birth plan for delayed clamping, but my son had the shortest cord, ever. Like he came out, and my doctor was like,”oh cr@p! I can’t even get him up to you!” My husband verified that it’d stopped pulsing, and she cut it. Not quite what we had expected, but that’s birth 🙂

  • Theresa May 10, 2012, 1:18 am

    Delaying clamping can have adverse effects as well. The infant can quickly become volume overloaded with blood which has its own set of consequences.

    I wish you went into more depth with ur research on public vs private cord banking. That is where there is generally the most public misconception and lack of necessary knowledge about cord blood. For instance, you wrote that you would privately bank in case your child got leukemia later. However, if a child has leukemia, the child needs someone else’s cord blood, not their own, bc their own cord blood has the stem cells that are destined to become leukemia. Families may bank cord blood for situations of if they have more children and another child in their family needs it. It is along the lines of donating blood – most donate blood out of personal generosity as well as karma for those “you never know” and “what if” situations. That is why you should publicly bank cord blood – for the possibility of saving a terminally ill child, as well as, God forbid, you had a child or you yourself were in a similar situation and had to rely on the grace and giving of other new parents.

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:14 am

      Can you show me a study about “volume overload”? I could not find any research to back up this claim.

      Public banks are a beautiful thing! My friend who had cancer a few years ago was saved from public banking. It is definitely a great option for many families and an important thing.

      • CaitlinHTP May 10, 2012, 11:40 am

        Oh I have heard about issues with volume when the doctor actively milks the cord, but not just by leaving it on.

  • Katya May 10, 2012, 1:34 am

    hi, I have just come across your blog. Firstly, congratulations and I wish you all the best for the remainder of your pregnancy and for the birth! I am at the same stage of pregnancy as you are, so am enjoying seeing where you are at! in regards to cord clamping, we came to the same decision…delayed clamping. I did not see the benefit of blood banking to outweigh the benefit of delaying the clamping….and I also didn’t want to tote the placenta and baby around together. So delayed clamping it is! I have a doula to attend my birth, so it will be her job to remind my husband to tell the team at the hospital to stay away from that cord until it has done its thing!

    • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:14 am

      Thanks for reading!

  • Emily May 10, 2012, 1:39 am

    Stop should-ing yourself!

  • Sarah May 10, 2012, 2:21 am

    All I can say is by both times the baby was out the last thing on my mind was the pulsating cord … it may have been 2 minutes or it may have been 10 minutes till it was clamped and cut. Zero idea. Zero care.

    I just left the obsty to make that call …. I figure if there is good enough evidence for it, then they’d be all over it.

  • Laura May 10, 2012, 6:33 am

    We just had our baby girl 9 weeks ago (4 weeks early), and we also requested delayed clamping; however, when baby arrived, the cord was wrapped around her neck and needed to be cut immediately. We have learned since her birth that there’s the plan, and then there’s what happens. It’s so wonderful to be armed with knowledge about the many choices on delivery/parenting/etc., but it really is a different arena once that baby is here and you figure out what is best for her safety and development. Best of luck to you! I vote girl, btw 🙂

  • Kathy A May 10, 2012, 8:12 am

    I had my last 2 children at home and I there is no need to clamp the cord if you wait until all blood has passed through and it gets limp and skin colored. Then you just cut it – no problem. I am in nursing school and a few of my professors have talked about delaying the clamping of the cord. It is very beneficial to the baby.

  • Caitlin May 10, 2012, 9:20 am

    I’ve heard a lot about this in the news and need to do more research.

  • Alexa May 10, 2012, 9:28 am

    Love the dress! I have the same one for two weddings this summer to rock maternity style. Glad I bought it when I did, I heard it sold out fast at Target stores and online!

  • Lindsay J May 10, 2012, 10:07 am

    When my son was born, we had three dachshunds. Our oldest didn’t even realize a baby was in the house. He could care less. The others were always annoying around other people’s kids, but they knew this baby was here to stay and they know when it is their turn to get in on the loving.

    As for rough parenting decisions, I say go with your gut. No one will ever know every detail behind every situation except you. Advice is great to listen to, but you do not have to follow it. Instead, use it as a guideline.

  • KB May 10, 2012, 10:53 am

    Please, PLEASE consider donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank. My father’s life was saved by a stem cell transplant from umbilical cord blood. Without it, he would have died from the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma he contracted at age 47.

  • Rachel May 10, 2012, 12:02 pm

    I had my first baby almost nince years ago. I have had another baby since then and I was with my friend at the hospital when she had her baby three months ago. Delayed clamping was standard procedure at all three births at three different hospitals. I can remember be told specifically that it would be done and why. I think this, as well as several other aspects of your birth plan, are a lot more commonly practiced than they used to be.

  • Jess May 10, 2012, 1:16 pm

    We waited for Ella’s cord to stop pulsating. It was really quick actually, much faster than I thought it would be. My midwife and I discussed my wishes to delay and I was happy to learn that it is the policy of the hospital i delivered at to wait unil the cord stops pulsating unless there is an emergency.

  • Erica May 10, 2012, 1:59 pm

    You look fabulous 🙂 I think its a boy! Girls tend to make pregger Moms (at least in my experience) get a little more round everywhere (especially the face) where you look all belly! Adorable. Either way- you two are going to be great parents 🙂

  • Amber K May 10, 2012, 2:02 pm

    The more you post about these things the more I realize I don’t know! I hadn’t even thought of things like clamping or eye ointment from the comment section. I guess it’s good to be informed, though!

  • Debbie May 10, 2012, 2:13 pm

    I think it is a boy…you are carrying low. Good luck!!

  • Lili May 10, 2012, 2:26 pm

    just wanted to say that you look GORGEOUS, Caitlin!!

  • Christine May 10, 2012, 4:20 pm

    I’m so fascinated to hear the differences between you guys down in the States. I work up in Canada in labour and delivery, and delayed cord clamping is a standard practice here (midwives, GPs, OBs) unless the baby needs some medical attention immediately! AAAAND I love that you can donate the cord blood!!! I’ve never heard of that down here…I’m going to ask around! Thanks for all your information!

    PS…One of the midwives I work with told me about a lotus birth she was involved with and the cord didn’t separate for MORE THAN TWOOOOO WEEKS! Nevermind, carrying around for three days…eep! 🙂

  • Anne May 10, 2012, 7:08 pm

    Pregnancy: You’re doing it right! 🙂 I read this article (What to Reject when You’re Expecting), and you are doing almost everything suggested:

  • Autumn Sky May 10, 2012, 8:59 pm

    Finally saw this post while catching up on your blog at work 🙂

    Just wanted to say if that isn’t a pregnancy glow I don’t know what is!!

  • Ashley May 10, 2012, 9:04 pm

    Super interesting post + comments. Very much enjoyed all of the information!! 🙂

  • chari May 15, 2012, 11:19 am

    From my experience (times two so far) it is the doctor (or who ever is delivering your baby) that would do the cord clamping. My second OB/GYN normally does delayed clamping anyway although I did mention weeks before the birth it was important to me. I didn’t have to remind her at birth and she definitely waited long enough.

    That stinks about the eye ointment. Since we don’t vax I’m aware of the state to state laws regarding things like that. I’ve heard some people say they just quickly wiped it back out which is what I would do if it happened. I can’t stand seeing everyone’s newborn pictures with their babies eyes wet from that ointment! ick!

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