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Midwifery Today Issue Number 108 (Winter 2013 ) Umbilical Cord
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Theme: Umbilical Cord

After a birth, many midwives, doulas, mothers, fathers and even children become scientists as they explore the placenta and umbilical cord, marveling at the twists, colors and texture of what was the baby’s lifeline for nine months (or more!). How wonderful it is to take the time to explore these things and give thanks for the marvelous way in which new life grows and develops. This issue specifically honors the umbilical cord with articles from Michel Odent, Patricia Edmonds, Susun Weed, Sister MorningStar and others.

Articles include:

  • “Umbilical Cord Mementos” by Jan Tritten. Editor-in-chief Jan Tritten invited her cousin to give a tutorial on creating an umbilical cord memento.
  • “The Umbilical Cord with Single Sac Twins” by Marion Toepke McLean. Midwife Marion shares some interesting birth stories involving the umbilical cord.
  • “Optimal Cord Clamping” by Mary Esther Malloy. A wonderful article highlighting the importance of caring for the umbilical cord at the proper time. While studies are showing us that there appears to be no good justification for the routine clamping and cutting of a baby’s umbilical cord seconds after the baby is born, survey after survey shows that most obstetricians and many midwives are still clamping and cutting cords very soon after delivery as a matter of course, with some rates as high as 95%.
  • “Cord Cutting in the Framework of Neonatal Beliefs and Rituals” by Michel Odent. Natural childbirth advocate and French obstetrician Michel Odent sheds light on the history of cord cutting while interpreting the contradiction of routine interference and current scientific research.
  • “The First Mother” by Sister MorningStar. A beautifully written article about the placenta and umbilical cord, also known as the baby’s “first mother.”
  • “What If Anything Were Possible? Traumatic Birth as Fertile Ground for Growth” by Keren Fridman Gadassi. Author and therapist Keren Fridman Gadassi shares how she helps women work through traumatic birth experiences.
  • “I Am the Umbilical Cord” by Susun Weed. A wonderful short poetic piece written from the perspective of the umbilical cord.
  • “The Navel String” by Patricia Edmonds. Midwife Patricia Edmonds successfully details the umbilical cord’s many characteristics and possibilities.
  • “Birth and Rebirth: A Jordanian-American Experience” by Suzanne Dwaik. A birth story that captures the intensity and inner struggle a mother went through to bring her child into the world in the best way possible under not-so-ideal circumstances.
  • “Amniotomy and Cord Prolapse” by Judy Slome Cohain. “Research shows that artificially rupturing the amniotic sac (amniotomy) can cause umbilical cord prolapse.”
  • “Umbilical Cord Traditions in Puerto Rico” by Gina Dacosta Rivera. Midwife Gina Dacosta Rivera shares her country’s traditions and beliefs surrounding the umbilical cord.
  • “When a Midwife Becomes a Doula” by Ireena Keeslar. An emotional story sharing the birth of twins who were not compatible with life and how a midwife transferred to the role of a doula as specialists took over with the medical care.
  • “It’s a Breech!” by Mo Tabib. A midwife shares the breech birth story of one of her clients who chose to try for a vaginal breech delivery.
  • “Preserving Normalcy: An Interview with Dr. Bootstaylor” by Cindy Morrow. Dr. Bootstaylor, an Ob/Gyn from Atlanta and a homebirth advocate, shares his experiences and insights in an interview with author Cindy Morrow.
  • “Don’t Go to Her—She’s a Medwife!” by Louana George. “How should we respond when we see/read/hear something that is designed to wrong us individually or to wrong someone else in the community of women’s health care providers?”
  • “Gestational Diabetes: Real Risks beyond the Controversy” by Crystal Ogle. All opinions aside, author Crystal Ogle tries to get to facts about gestational diabetes and what midwives can do to educate their clients.
  • “Premature Ligation of the Umbilical Cord” by Patricia Edmonds. A wonderful article about the umbilical cord and reasons why it should not be cut prematurely.

View complete Table of Contents here.


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