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The Dangerous Practice of Early Clamping of the Umbilical Cord

"Another thing very injurious to the child, is the tying and cutting of the navel string too soon; which should always be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but till all pulsation in the cord ceases. As otherwise the child is much weaker than it ought to be, a portion of the blood being left in the placenta, which ought to have been in the child."

Erasmus Darwin, (Charles Darwin’s grandfather) Zoonomia, 1801

The History of Cord Clamping - This is a documented history of accepted methods, and their rationale, of closing the umbilical circulation after birth, when the newborn child converts from the placental life support system to the independent life support systems of the adult human. The natural (physiological) process was clearly understood by obstetricians from 1773 through the 1970’s..

Neonatal Encephalopathy, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, and Subsequent Cerebral Palsy: Etiology, Pathology and Prevention - As “there is no evidence that brain damage occurs before birth,” such damage should be avoidable by resuscitating neonates with the placental circulation intact. This allows full (and immediate) placental transfusion from the engorged placenta and corrects the primary pathology.

Neonatal Resuscitation: Life that Failed - Today, in US hospitals, if a child is born alive, the chances of it dying within a few days are virtually zero; even some babies without a heartbeat are resuscitated. The term “resuscitation” implies restoration of deficient life support systems, especially respiration. However, in the depressed newborn, that deficiency is in the placenta and cord, as the lungs have not yet begun to function.

Immediate Umbilical Cord Clamping as a Cause of Autism - Recent rates for autism spectral disorders are estimated to be 3-4 times higher than 30 years ago. This increase is partly accounted for by changes in methodological factors, but the influence of new environmental exposures, such as iatrogenic birth traumas such as interruption of placental transfusion at birth, cannot be discounted, say George Malcolm Morley and Eileen Nicole Simon in this letter to the British Medical Journal.

A Refutation of ACOG’s Report on Cerebral Palsy - A task force of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued a report on Neonatal Encephalopathy and Cerebral Palsy, concluding that the causesof brain damage are “unpreventable.” Dr George Malcolm Morley takes great exception to this position and refutes ACOG's report.

"Nature does nothing uselessly." - Aristotle

Cord Clamping: Exporting Bad Practices to Nepal - A recent paper published in the BMJ is much more than a "study of care" of newborn infants in Nepal as the title states. It is in fact making recommendations about what the authors feel is the correct "standard of care". The problem however, is that their recommendation regarding early cord clamping is a very dangerous and ill-conceived one. Their recommendation for “early cord cutting” is simply a really bad idea in ANY culture, but this is even more so in an area of the world such as Nepal.

Chorioamnionitis and Neonatal Brain Damage: The Unrecognized Iatrogenic Cause - "The brain injury found... should serve as further evidence that the commonplace practice of immediate cord clamping should be avoided unless absolutely medically necessary."

Brainstem Lesions In Autism: Birth Asphyxia As A Causative Factor by Eileen Nicole Simon and George Malcolm Morley - The authors propose that the increased incidence of autism, infant anemia, childhood mental disorders and hypoxic ischemic brain damage, all originate at birth from one cause - immediate umbilical cord clamping at birth. (This abstract was presented at the IMFAR conference [International Meeting for Autism Research] November 1, 2002 in Orlando, Florida.)

Perinatal complications as predictors of infantile autism. - More evidence of the birth/autism connection.

Open Letter to President George W. Bush - Dr. Eileen Nicole Simon writes to the President in support of Congressman Dan Burton's request for a White House Conference on childhood autism and discusses how best to investigate its epidemic increase.

Autism 'more likely' in c-sections - Women who experience difficult births or deliver their babies by caesarean section are more likely to have an autistic child than women who had normal births, according to the largest study of its kind ever undertaken. [Editor's Note: While there is almost certainly a connection between C-Sections and Autism, we STRONGLY disagree with the author's conclusions as to WHYthis association exists.]

Current Best Evidence: A Review Of The Literature On Umbilical Cord Clamping - Judith S. Mercer (J Midwifery Womens Health 2001 Nov-Dec;46(6):402-14) CLICK HERE for the full-text paper (PDF file).

A Cord of Prevention (cover story from "Advance for Nurses" - August 5, 2002 - PDF file) - This cover featured article discusses the important ongoing work of researcher Judith Mercer, CNM.

If you find this site informative and valuable, please consider making a small donation (through PAYPAL) to help us cover expenses and improve the website. I will post a list of all expenses and donations so everyone can see exactly what is going on.

How the Cord Clamp Injures Your Baby’s Brain by Dr. George Malcolm Morley - This very long article describes how the placenta and functioning cord prepare the child for healthy life in the minutes following birth, and how early cord clamping disrupts this process; many of the birth injuries caused by loss of blood (hypovolemia) and lack of oxygen (hypoxia) due to early cord clamping are discussed.

Erasmus Darwin: The Physiology and Iatrogenic Pathology of the Third Stage by Dr. George Malcolm Morley - This is an article for practicing obstetricians and midwives outside of academia; it is a short history of how panicked defensive medicine started the cord clamping error and how many false premises have compounded it and prevented its correction.

The Peter Dunn collection - Here is a collection of papers, dating back more than 35 years, dealing with cord clamping by Peter Dunn, MD, one of the most well-respected neonatal authorities in the world.

In the mountains of truth you never climb in vain. - Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Review of the Scientific Literature - In this new section of the website, we will be posting responses to recently published papers in the scientific literature. Feel free to check back often.

SURVEY: Do you have a child diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or know someone who does? Please take a minute to complete this survey.

Leaving Well Alone: A Natural Approach to the Third Stage of Labour by Dr Sarah Buckley - The medical approach to pregnancy and birth has become so ingrained in our culture, that we have forgotten the way of birth of our ancestors: a way that has ensured our survival as a species for millennia.

Why Do Babies Cry? by Dr. George Malcolm Morley - An account of the wonderful events that happen to a newborn child and its mother immediately after birth when they are not interfered with or disturbed by doctors, midwives and nurses.

Autism, ADD/ADHD, and Related Disorders - Is a Common Chidbirth Practice to Blame? by Dr. George Malcolm Morley - This article presents the hypothesis that placental oxygenation until the lungs are functioning should prevent autism and related disorders that are caused by hypoxic brain lesions.

Neonatal Transitional Physiology: A New Paradigm by Judith Mercer and RL Skovgaard - Here is the abstract from a new paper published in The Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. (CLICK HERE for the full-text study - pdf file requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. WARNING - file is very large - approx. 900kB.)

Effect of Delayed Cord Clamping on Iron Stores in Infants Born to Anemic Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial - A new study showing that iron stores and hemoglobin in infancy can be improved in babies born to anemic mothers by delaying cord clamping at birth. (ABSTRACT, FULL-TEXT)

To Clamp or Not to Clamp by Dr. George Malcolm Morley - A practical guide for expectant parents to explain the safe use of a cord clamp to their doctor or midwife.

Please be sure to not only read these articles, but pass them along to as many people as you can, especially your doctor or midwife.

The following is a small collection of writing pertaining to the subject of cord clamping. This list is certainly not anywhere near complete or comprehensive, yet. But it will hopefully continue to be updated.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

Basics of the Cord Clamping / Brain Damage Issue

The following are established facts:

Birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen) causes newborn brain damage.
Before birth, the placenta supplies the brain with oxygen.
After birth, the lungs supply the brain with oxygen.
After the delivery of the child, and before delivery of the placenta, the oxygen supply changes from the placenta to the lungs.
During normal changeover, placental oxygenation continues until pulmonary oxygenation is established.
During normal changeover, the brain is not deprived of oxygen.
During normal changeover, placental blood is transfused into the child, increasing its blood volume.
The increased blood volume flows through the lungs augmented by ventilation to establish pulmonary oxygenation.
After pulmonary oxygenation is established, placental oxygenation ceases - the cord vessels close; the brain's oxygen supply is not interrupted.
The child's innate reflexes control all the above mechanisms and functions.
Those reflexes have been developed over millions of years for optimal survival of the newborn.

The following are established facts regarding umbilical cord clamping before pulmonary oxygenation is established:

Placental oxygenation is arrested and the brain is deprived of oxygen until the lungs function.
Placental transfusion is arrested and the child is hypovolemic.
Blood flow through the lungs and other organs is not optimal and pulmonary oxygenation is not optimal.
The child’s life support systems are not optimal for survival or for optimum health.

Depending on the degree of asphyxia and the length of time of asphyxia produced by cord clamping, the child will have varying degrees of brain damage that range from no damage through degrees of neurological impairment to brain death. Natural (normal) cord closure prevents birth asphyxia and prevents brain damage. Articles on this website explain how modern obstetrical and neonatal care is causing newborn brain damage and how that care can be corrected; they provides references to support the explanation.

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe. - Frank Zappa

If you find this site informative and valuable, please consider making a small donation (through PAYPAL) to help us cover expenses and improve the website. I will post a list of all expenses and donations so everyone can see exactly what is going on.

Additional Cord Clamping Articles/Letters

Umbilical Cord Clamping: Beliefs and Practices of American Nurse-Midwives (J Midwifery Womens Health 2000 Jan-Feb;45(1):58-66) (CLICK HERE for the full-text paper - PDF file).

The roles and vital importance of placental blood to the newborn infant (J Perinat Med 1995;23:139-43) (CLICK HERE for full-text paper - PDF file).

Two patterns of perinatal brain damage and their conditions of occurrence (Myers RE. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1972; 112: 246-276.) - Study abstract in PDF format. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Informed Consent for Cord Clamping: Ask Erasmus Darwin by Dr. George Malcolm Morley - A Letter to the Editor of the British Medical Journal.

Cord Closure: Can Hasty Clamping Injure the Newborn? - By George Malcolm Morley, MB, ChB, FACOG, July 1998, OBG Management.

It can be held certain that information that is withheld or suppressed
contains truths that are detrimental to the persons involved in the suppression. -
J. Edgar Hoover

Early Clamping of the Umbilical Cord: Cutting the Ties That Bind - By Cory Mermer, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.

Don't fool with Mother Nature. - Unknown

A Simple Practice to Increase "Red Cell Transport" in Newborns - Letter to the Editor by Cory Mermer (Archives of Disease in Childhood).

A Randomised Controlled Trial of Delayed Cord Clamping in Very Low Birth Weight Preterm Infants (Eur J Pediatr 2000 Oct;159(10):775-7)

Nothing hurts a new truth more than an old error. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Early or Late Cord Clamping? - Short article from Midwifery Today E-News (Vol 1 Issue 30, July 23, 1999).

Umbilical Cord Clamping. An Analysis of a Usual Neonatological Conduct (Acta Physiol Pharmacol Ther Latinoam 1998;48(4):224-7)

Just One of Many "Trespasses" That Children Bear - Letter to the Editor (British Medical Journal)

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. - Anatole France (1844-1924)

Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping in Preterm Infants: A Feasibility Study - (Paediatr Child Health 1997 Aug;33(4):308-10)

Umbilical Cord Blood: Secret to Brain Repair? - Associated Press Report by Daniel Q. Haney, February 19, 2001

American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Cord Blood Banking - (Pediatrics, Volume 104, Number 1, July 1999, pp 116-118.)

Leading Cause of Anemia in Preterm Babies is Blood for Lab Tests - (Pediatrics August 2000; 106: e19)

Do not discard 99.99% of the human placental umbilical cord blood for the sake of stem cells only - by Niranjan Bhattacharya, Surgeon and Superintendent Bijoygarh State Hospital, Calcutta,India

Umbilical Cord Whole Blood Transfusion: A Suggested Strategy To Combat Blood Scarcity In Ireland - by Niranjan Bhattacharya, Surgeon and Superintendent Bijoygarh State Hospital, Calcutta,India

If you find this site informative and valuable, please consider making a small donation (through PAYPAL) to help us cover expenses and improve the website. I will post a list of all expenses and donations so everyone can see exactly what is going on.


Premature Babies are at a much greater risk of ADHD and cognitive deficits - "Preterm-born children also show an increased incidence of ADHD and other behaviors".

Brain Scans Find Language Center Anomaly In Autism - For the first time, scientists have identified in people with autism abnormalities in parts of the brain that are involved with language.

Surgeons save 'miracle' baby - "Doctors say that, if the windpipe had not been cleared, the baby would have died when its umbilical cord, which provides it with oxygen and nutrients, was cut on birth."

Cord Blood Tests

Chow (Litigation guardian of) v. Wellesley Hospital

Tuberous Sclerosis and Autism: Neuro-epileptic determinants of autism spectrum disorders in tuberous sclerosis complex

Angry Outbursts Linked to Brain Dysfunction

Viewpoint On The Brain Disorder In Autism by Eileen Nicole Simon

Is Autism Due to Cerebral-Cerebellum Disconnection?

Stem Cells Help Brain Repair Itself After Stroke

Report of the Workshop on Acute Perinatal Asphyxia in Term Infants

More information about Erasmus Darwin (Erasmus Darwin Foundation, UC Berkeley, The Victorian Web, Dickinson College, Lichfield City Council, Centre For The History Of Medicine, Strange Science)

Watching How the Brain Grows - by Laura DeFrancesco

New blood joins this Earth and quickly he's subdued . - Metallica

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For more information, or to be notified of any site updates, please contact us at editor@cordclamping.com

Page last updated January 4, 2003

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The information contained on this site is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the published scientific/medical literature and the personal research and experience of many healthcare providers.