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Blog posts tagged with 'umbilical cord care'

Why Do We Use Plastic Cord Clamps?

Probably the most popular selling umbilical cord clamping product we carry is the plastic cord clamp. It is also the bulkiest and least environmentally-sound choice available. We decided to look at why many midwives and hospital birth wards favor the plastic cord clamp, and what alternatives are available that are just as effective without causing discomfort for newborns.

According to a 2004 article posted in NeoReviews: an official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, plastic cord clamps were designed to offer a secure, reliable constriction to ensure no bleeding occurred from the umbilical cord after it was cut. The traditional method prior to plastic cord clamps was cotton umbilical tape, but concerns developed regarding the possibility of babies hemorrhaging if the tape was not tied tightly enough.

Convenience was another factor. According to the authors of Management of the Umbilical Cord: Care Regimens, Colonization, Infection, and Separation, JoDee M. Anderson, MD and Alistair G.S. Philip, MD: "The first method [of umbilical cord ligation] was to use constricting bands, which were effective, but somewhat difficult to apply...the more usual method in developed countries currently is plastic or metal clamps, which produce safe, reliable constriction"1.

            

For those who are interested in an effective alternative, options are available that are economical and more environmentally-friendly than plastic cord clamps. Cord rings, also referred to as cord bands mentioned above, are an effective way to discreetly secure the umbilical cord without excess bulk or materials to irritate the newborn. Popular among midwives, cord rings are relatively easy to apply and the procedure only requires a pair of hemostatic forceps. For those who have difficulty applying cord rings manually, another alternative is the Cord Bander - a reusable device specially designed to apply cord bands. Cord Banders allow you to clamp a cord and place a latex band on the stump with ease.

In both instances, the cord rings and cord bands shrink along with the umbilical cord, so there is no need for removal. Cord banders are made of sterilizable metal, making them reusable. Both options also eliminate the need and cost of cord clamp clippers. Metal clamp clippers can be reused, but plastic clippers are still popular amongst midwives wanting to give parents a plastic clipper to cut their baby's clamp or hospitals following regulations mandating a new clipper for each baby's cord clamp. Cord rings and bands are a simple way to reduce the excess waste cost of disposing of plastic cord clamp clippers and used cord clamps.

Even though concerns have been raised about not tying umbilical tape tightly enough, it is still a popular option for those looking for a biodegradable, lightweight solution to cord clamping. Umbilical tape is a braided cloth that comes in 100% cotton as well as a polyester-cotton blend. For those wanting to take extra precautions to ensure the tape it effectively tied, tying it in two different locations on the cord will provide additional ligation.

So although plastic cord clamps have proven reliable at securing umbilical cords, there are effective alternatives for those looking for a less invasive, lightweight option that is also more economical. Choosing the cord care option that works best for you and the needs of the families you work with is of optimal importance. Equally as important is knowing what options are available to you.

If you enjoyed this post, the topics covered in the following blog posts may also be of interest to you: 'How to Choose Sutures', 'Measuring Up Infant Scales', and 'Entering the New Age of Midwifery'. Click the post title to view the full article, or scroll through our complete archive of posts by clicking here.

Written By: Samantha Darling for Cascade HealthCare Products

 

Resources

Cord Care, Cascade HealthCare Products: www.1cascade.com/umbilical-cord-care-products

1JoDee M. Anderson, MD and Alistair G.S. Philip, MD. 'Management of the Umbilical Cord: Care Regimens, Colonization, Infection, and Separation', 2004, NeoReviews

The Different Ways to Clamp Umbilical Cords

There is much debate circulating around the appropriate amount of time to wait before clamping a newborn's umbilical cord. A pivotal 2013 study came out in favor of waiting for longer than the standard 60 seconds for clamping, to allow for increased stores of iron in infants. Read more about it in this New York Times article, Study Finds Benefits in Delaying Severing of Umbilical Cord.

There is also a lot of discussion around the most appropriate way to clamp cords, and as many midwives know, a lot of it will come down to personal preference of the practitioner. Whether using traditional, disposable plastic cord clamps, or environmentally-friendly, biodegradable cotton cord tape, we want to make sure you have the best knowledge on what you're using and how best to use it!

Plastic Cord Clamps - Traditionally used by hospitals and midwives, these clamps look similar to a hair clip that lock when closed. The clamps are sterile and because they are disposable, there is no concern for cross-contamination. Another great side-note about these clamps is that they are latex-free! Because plastic cord clamps lock once closed, you will need to have a Plastic Cord Clamp Clipper (disposable) or a Metal Cord Clamp Clipper (floor-grade instruments that are reusable if autoclaved or cold sterilized) to cut the clamp off.

Umbilical Cord Tape - The downside to plastic cord clamps is that they aren't biodegradable, which makes them the least likely choice of environmentally-conscious midwives and childbirth practitioners. Plastic cord clamps are also rather awkward when hanging from the end of a small umbilical cord, which may be a source of irritation to newborns. A great alternative is umbilical cord tape because it is 100% cotton - making it biodegradable - and it is lightweight for increased infant comfort. You can choose from sterile or non-sterile tape.

We know that the timing of umbilical cord clamping is highly important, and scurrying around for the right tools is not the ideal when the seconds start to tick. Which is why we decided to create our an umbilical cord kit specially designed for midwives, to have all the tools you need at your fingertips in an easy to identify bag. Here's why we created the Cascade Cord Clamping Kit the way that we did.

Contents of Cascade Cord Clamping Kit

1. Rochester Pean Forceps, 6.25" straight - These forceps help you clamp the umbilical cord in preparation for severing it.

2. Rochester Pean Forceps, 6.25" curved - These are perfect to have on hand in the event that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck. You will need curved forceps to carefully follow the curve of the newborn's neck in order to clamp the cord without causing any harm to the baby.

3. American Umbilical Cord Scissors - Specially designed scissors for severing the umbilical cord.

4. A Plastic Cord Clamp - The traditional way of clamping the cord once it is severed. These clamps are sterile and latex-free and they permanently lock once closed.

5. Cord Tape - For those who want a more environmentally-friendly and lightweight alternative to the plastic cord clamp, cord tape is an effective way of tying the umbilical cord after it has been severed. This strip of cord tape is sterile, 1/4" wide and made from 100% cotton for a gentler, natural touch.

6. Teal Nylon Organizer Bag - Since this isn't the only midwifery kit we offer, we made sure to color code it for easy identification! Our Cascade Cord Clamping Kit comes in a durable teal nylon organizer, so that you can grab the right tools when in a rush.

We also have a wide selection of products for umbilical cord care from Cord Care Powder to Triple Dye Umbilical Antiseptic in our Umbilical Cord Care section. Just click here to see it!

If you enjoyed this post, the topics covered in the following blog posts may also be of interest to you: 'Why Do We Use Fetoscopes?', 'How to Choose the Right Doppler', and 'How to Properly Clean and Sterilize Your Instruments'. Click the post title to view the full article, or scroll through our complete archive of posts by clicking here.

Written By: Samantha Darling for Cascade HealthCare Products

 

References

'Study Finds Benefits in Delaying Severing of Umbilical Cord', New York Times, July 10, 2013

'Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes', The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Susan J McDonald, Philippa Middleton, Therese Dowswell, Peter S Morris, July 11, 2013