Health Warning: Doctor Warns Against DIY Cord Clamps

Doctors are warning new mums who ditch plastic umbilical cord clamps in favour of homemade knitted ones that they could be putting their child’s life at risk of infection.

DIY cord clamps

Many new mums have started knitting their own personalised decorative versions of the non-descript plastic clamps that have been used for decades.

According to a report in the Courier Mail newspaper, private midwives are reporting that 80 per cent of women are bringing their own DIY cord clamps to the birth.

The newspaper quoted Brisbane midwife Emma Nolan as saying that the trend had exploded over the past few years.

“I used one on my own child three years ago but then you couldn’t get any of the pretty decorative ones, today there are loads of patterns online showing how to make them and you can buy personalised designs,” she said.

“It’s not really about the aesthetics though, the traditional plastic clamp is very hard and uncomfortable under the nappy for a newborn and mums just took it upon themselves to come up with a better option.”

What is a cord clamp?

cord clamp

It is used after the umbilical cord is cut at birth. Parents usually leave the clamp on for a few days, up to a week at which point it is removed and the stump naturally starts to separate and fall off.

The clamp used in hospital is made of hard plastic and is about 3-4cm long. DIY versions are knitted or crocheted and can be made in any colour or style.

But a doctor warns….

But Brisbane obstetrician Gino Pecoraro told the Courier Mail he advised mums against using DIY clamps.

“I suspect this is merely the latest in a series of fads around childbirth and seems to be more about fashion and wanting to stand out rather than dealing with a real issue,” Dr Pecoraro said.

“My concern with a crocheted or knitted wool device is the potential for infection as they can easily get wet as they become covered in faeces and urine.

“The plastic ones are sterile, have stood the test of time and are easy to apply. It may well be that a clamp made of something more pliable like a siliconised rubber which would be easier for the mums to look after and that can be explored.”

One Brisbane mother said the reason she used DIY clamps for both of her children was because the plastic versions were not very comfortable and that it had nothing to do with fashion.

DIY cord clamps

A quick search on the internet and we found plenty of websites and bloggers with information on how to make umbilical cord ties.

Most are plaited, about 20-30cms in length and some people suggest they can be sterilised by boiling and then freezing them in a zip lock bag.

However, not everyone sterilises the DIY cord ties.


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