I've been studying for my neonatal resuscitation class tomorrow and boy am I pissed. Why are we still clamping the cord on newborns??? Why are we cutting off oxygen supply and blood flow when breathing effort may not have been initiated yet??? I read (not in my text book of course) that birthing in the squatting position may even get the respiratory system going more quickly (baby is below the placenta helping it to drain more quickly, delivering blood, therefore oxygen to baby more efficiently). It all makes sense. No wonder I birth at home. Clamping the cord at birth causes asphyxiation till breathing effort takes over. Great, another way babies are abused at birth. How has birth come to this? Why is obstetrical practice so unscientific? Yet another example of how we set the mother/baby up to fail, then swoop in with our heroic efforts to "save" them. Nature has a perfect design for birth. Squatting to give birth vaginally (the logical way to give birth) even has a role in neonatal oxygenation. Of course cesarean babies suffer the most risk, being completely deprived of the benefits of vaginal birth to the initiation of respirations. If you'd like to read more on the topic, go to http://www.birth-brain-injury.org/index.html and read the essay "Why Babies Cry" by George Malcolm Morley.
...and stop clamping those damn cords!