Concerns about umbilical cord clamping
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an urgent ongoing need

fetal to postnatal circulation




>>Concerns (NCS p1)

Question Authority




Contact: Eileen Nicole Simon
The  National
Children's Study
Placental blood is
respiratory blood
Umbilical cord clamping,
a human invention
Waiting for the first breath,
a long tradition
Hypothesis: Clamping the Umbilical Cord may be Unsafe
A proposed factor to be considered in retrospective and prospective outcome studies by the
Pregnancy and Infant Working Group of the National Children's Study (NCS)
Eileen Nicole Simon, PhD, RN
1.  Placental blood is respiratory blood
Circulation and an adequate volume blood are essential for respiration.  The fetal
heart is the earliest organ to become functional, and between the fourth and fifth
weeks of development begins circulating erythrocytes produced in the embryonic yolk
sac [
1].  The placenta becomes a major component of the cardiovascular system
between the eighth and tenth weeks [
1, 2].  Blood is pumped by the fetal heart through
the umbilical arteries to the placenta, where replenished with oxygen and nutrients it
returns via the umbilical vein [
2, 3].  Placental blood is therefore part of the fetal
circulatory system, as much as pulmonary blood is after birth.
Erasmus Darwin in 1801 noted, "The placenta is an organ for the
purpose of giving due oxygenation to the blood of the fetus; which
is more necessary, or at least more frequently necessary, than
even the supply of food" [
4, p192].  Oxygen is the most urgently
essential ongoing need of all species dependent for survival upon
aerobic metabolism.
Research by Redmond et al. in 1965 provided dramatic
evidence that the infant's first breath redirects blood from the
placenta to the lungs [
5].  This so-called "placental transfusion"
fills the capillaries surrounding the alveoli, causing them to
open [
6].  Placental blood is respiratory blood, and appears by
nature's design intended for perfusion of the lungs at birth [
Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)
from Dunn 2003 [
Posted: February 27, 2006
(a work in progress)
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