As with all childbirth and child rearing decisions, families must become educated and make the decision that is best for their family. Another major decision that mother and family have is when to cut the umbilical cord. Yes, you have a choice and here are the three main choices.
(this image taken from an amazing blog called Birth Balance)
First, you may have the cord cut immediately. Some doctors believe that the cord needs to be cut immediately if the family desires to 'bank the cord blood', or if mother or child is in need of emergency attention. This is what is typically done in the hospital setting as doctors desire to check over the baby and finish up mom so that they can head over to the next birth. (OK that might be a little biased but in essence they simply don't have time for mother's to choose option number two).
Option number two is to practice delayed cord clamping. "Delayed" can be defined as a few minutes after child birth, after placenta birth, or until the placenta has stopped pulsating. Just because the baby and placenta have been birthed doesn't mean that the placentas job is anywhere near finished. There is still an abundant transfer of oxygen and blood volume going on between placenta and baby.
Third, is to never cut the cord and to allow it to detach naturally, called a Lotus Birth.
Here is a very basic video describing a Lotus Birth
I strongly prefer Delayed Cord Clamping and here are many reasons why.
First is this short video which covers some of the basics
Video on Delayed Cord Clamping via Metacafe
But here are a few other articles related to delayed cord clamping that might surprise you:
How the Cord Clamp Injures Your Baby’s Brain
Autism, ADD/ADHD, and Related Disorders - Is a Common Childbirth Practice to Blame?
Early or Late Cord Clamping at Natural Childbirth dot org
Academic OB/GYN Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard Practice in Obstetrics
This decision is so simple and easy. All it requires is for you to speak up and ask the doctor to slow down. You are your child's biggest advocate!