Neonatal Tetanus Prevention

Here is the next chapter from my research on the placenta. Enjoy!

Neonatal tetanus prevention

Tetanus is an infection that can occur when open wounds (freshly cut umbilical cord stump, anyone?) are infected by a bacteria called Clostridium Tetani. This infection can happen at any age, but is particularily dangerous for newborns (neonatal tetanus). Often associated with rural and third world births, it can happen to any baby, no matter the context, if the umbilical cord is cut too early.

Here is what the well-known Dr. Michel Odent has to say in an article written for The Lancet:

''In their Seminar about maternal and neonatal tetanus (Dec 8, p 1947),1 Martha Roper and colleagues present neonatal tetanus as a consequence of unsafe umbilical cord care practices. It should rather be presented as a complication of an intervention—ie, early cord cutting. If there is no rush to intervene, some hours later the cord is thin, dry, hard, and exsanguine. Then, it can be cut without any need for cord care practices. The risk of neonatal tetanus is eliminated.
We must keep in mind that cord cutting is originally a ritual inseparable from myths (eg, the widespread belief that the colostrum is harmful) that lead to early mother—newborn separation. If it were possible to neutralise the effects of such deep-rooted beliefs and rituals, there would be no excuse to separate the neonate from the mother. Apart from the prevention of neonatal tetanus, one might expect a cascade of secondary outcomes (higher haematocrit, immediate contamination of the neonate by germs satellite of the mother, early consumption of colostrum, effects on how the gut flora is established, etc).
At a time when global action is the watchword, one can wonder how cost effective it would be to teach the world that cutting the cord can wait many hours, that the neonate needs first its mother's arms and can find the breast during the hour after birth, and that the colostrum is precious. Our objective is not to discuss the particular case of wealthy countries where neonatal tetanus is almost unknown and drugless childbirth rare.
I declare that I have no conflict of interest.''
Yet another argument in favor of delayed cord clamping. 
Have a nice day!

Sources:
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(08)60198-1/fulltext
LIM, Robin, Placenta the Forgotten Chakra, Half Angel Press, Bali, 2010

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