How Did They Cut the Umbilical Cord in Ancient Times?

The umbilical cord is a vital connection between the mother and the fetus during pregnancy. It provides the necessary nutrients and oxygen for the growth and development of the fetus.

However, once the baby is born, the umbilical cord needs to be cut to separate it from the mother’s body. This process has been an integral part of childbirth for centuries. In this article, we will explore how they cut the umbilical cord in ancient times.

Ancient Times

In ancient times, cutting the umbilical cord was not a simple task. They did not have modern tools such as scissors or clamps to cut or tie off the cord. Instead, they relied on various natural methods to separate the mother and baby.


One of the earliest methods involved using teeth to bite through the umbilical cord. This method was commonly used among animals and was also practiced by some cultures in ancient times.

Sharp Stones

Another method involved using sharp stones or shells to cut through the cord. The sharp edges of these objects were used to slice through the tissue of the cord.

Medieval Times

During medieval times, there were some advancements in medical knowledge and tools that made cutting the umbilical cord safer and more hygienic.

Hot Iron

One popular method during medieval times was using a hot iron to cauterize or burn through the cord. This technique helped prevent infection and bleeding.


Another method involved using a piece of thread or string to tie off the umbilical cord before cutting it with a sharp object like a knife or scissors. This helped prevent bleeding and infection as well.

Modern Times

Today, cutting the umbilical cord is a routine procedure performed by medical professionals immediately after the baby is born. It is a safe and straightforward process that involves using sterile scissors or clamps to cut the cord.


Medical professionals typically clamp the cord before cutting it to prevent blood loss. The clamp is placed about two inches away from the baby’s belly button, and then a second clamp is placed about an inch away from the first.


Once the cord is clamped, medical professionals use sterile scissors to cut between the two clamps. The cut end of the cord is then cleaned and treated with antiseptic to prevent infection.


In conclusion, cutting the umbilical cord has evolved over time with advancements in medical knowledge and tools. From using teeth and sharp stones in ancient times to modern-day sterile scissors and clamps, we have come a long way in ensuring safe childbirth practices. While some of these ancient methods may seem barbaric by today’s standards, they were effective for their time and played an essential role in ensuring healthy deliveries.