How Did They Cut Umbilical Cord in Ancient Times?

The cutting of the umbilical cord is a crucial step in the birth process. It is a moment that marks the end of an infant’s gestational life, and the beginning of their life outside of the womb.

Today, this practice is widely known and accepted, but have you ever wondered how it was done in ancient times? Let’s explore.

Ancient Times

In ancient times, there was no standardized way to cut the umbilical cord. The method varied depending on the religion, culture, and traditions of each community. In general, however, there were two main methods that were used: tearing or cutting.


Tearing was a common method used by many cultures around the world. It involved pulling or twisting the umbilical cord until it snapped off naturally. This method was believed to be less traumatic for both mother and baby as it did not involve any sharp objects.

However, this method also had its risks. Tearing could sometimes cause excessive bleeding and damage to the mother’s reproductive system, leading to long-term complications.


Cutting was another popular method used by many cultures. This involved using sharp objects such as knives or scissors to sever the umbilical cord cleanly.

The tool used for cutting varied depending on which society you look at. For example, ancient Egyptians used copper knives for this purpose while some African tribes used sharp stones.

Religious Practices

Religion played a significant role in how umbilical cords were cut in ancient times. For example, in Judaism, it was customary to use a special knife called a “brit milah” to cut the cord during circumcision ceremonies.

In Hinduism and Buddhism, a thread made from turmeric or other medicinal herbs was tied around the umbilical cord before it was cut as it was believed to have antibacterial properties.


In conclusion, the cutting of the umbilical cord has evolved throughout history and across cultures. Ancient methods were often crude by today’s standards, but they were all rooted in a desire to ensure the safety and well-being of both mother and child.

As medical knowledge advanced, so did the methods of cutting the umbilical cord. Today, newborns have their cords clamped and then cut with sterilized scissors or a scalpel. Despite these advances, however, some cultures still follow traditional practices when it comes to cutting the umbilical cord.