5.3.6  Cutting the cord

A pulsating cord and a non-pulsating cord.

Most of the time, there is no need to hurry to cut the cord right away. Leaving the cord attached will help the baby to have enough iron in his or her blood, because some of the blood in the placenta drains along the cord and into the baby. It will also keep the baby on the mother’s belly which is the best place to be right now. Wait until the cord stops pulsing and looks like it is mostly empty of blood.

BUT if the mother is known to be HIV-infected or her HIV status is not known, it is better to cut the cord soon after you have dried the baby and made sure that he or she is warm.

Cutting the umbilical cord.
Figure 5.11  Cutting the umbilical cord.

Use a sterile string or sterile clamp to tightly tie or clamp the cord about two finger widths from the baby’s belly. (The baby’s risk of getting tetanus is greater when the cord is cut far from the body.) Tie a square knot (Figure 5.11).

Put another sterile string or clamp one finger from the first knot. And, if you do not have a clamp on the cord on the mother’s side, add a third knot two fingers from the second knot. Putting a double knot on the cord reduces the risk of bleeding.

Cut after the second tie (e.g. the first tie is approximately 3 cm from the baby’s abdomen and the second is approximately 5 cm). Cut after the 5 cm tie with a sterile razor blade or sterile scissors.

5.3.5  Delivery of the baby’s body

5.4  Immediate care of the newborn baby