What is Delayed Cord Clamping?
Delayed cord clamping is a birth practice where the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut beyond 30 seconds of baby’s delivery. Many times, the cord will be clamped and cut after the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating or after the placenta has been delivered.
Here are some benefits to this birth practice!
1. The Placenta Contains a Third of Baby’s Blood
Research shows that when we delay clamping the umbilical cord, the baby will receive up to 30% more of the fetal-placental blood volume than it would have with immediate cord clamping.
2. Baby Receives an Increase of Oxygen
A full count of red blood cells provides the increase of oxygen to baby for the transition to life outside of the womb. Not only is baby receiving extra oxygen but he also receives the millions of stem cells and immune cells that are inside the umbilical cord.
3. Prevention of Iron Deficiency/ Anemia
The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists state that waiting just 3 minutes may prevent iron deficiency (anemia) during the first year of baby’s life. Babies receive a huge influx of iron-rich red blood cells when the umbilical cord can continue pulsating. What’s interesting is that, Mom’s breast milk has been shown to be low in iron levels. Research has shown that this extra increase of iron storage lasts in baby up to 4-6 months which is about the time that iron-rich foods are being introduced.
4. Benefits for Preemies
Of course, some preemies need to be rushed to NICU or receive immediate medical attention right after delivery. But for infants born before 37 weeks, the Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada state that, cord clamping should be delayed by at least a minute after birth to reduce the need for transfusion and the potential for bleeding in the brain. It’s also been shown that preemies have fewer heart problems, better blood pressure, and less anemia.
5. Uninterrupted Cuddles
Last but not least! Delayed cord clamping promotes bonding between Mom and baby just by the fact that they are still attached to each other and forced to cuddle and get to know each other. Those first minutes of skin to skin between Mom and baby release several different hormones that create the everlasting love and bond that is so important. These first cuddles also encourage early breastfeeding!
If delayed cord clamping is something you choose to do at your birth make sure to tell your birth team (partner, doula, sister, etc.) and have it written down in your birth plan. Those first moments after delivery can be fast-paced and it’s always good to have someone on your team remember to tell your care provider your wishes in case you can’t.
There are always risks to any birth practice and it’s always a great idea to talk the benefits and risks out with your care provider to decide what is the right choice for you and your baby.
Researching decisions like this can have a big positive impact on your birth and baby!
Birth Doula & Prenatal Instructor
Yellow Bird Birth Doula