Delayed Cord Clamping in Newborn Babies: Is it Safe?

This cord has stopped pulsing completely, before being cut. My new baby niece - photo by Angela England

This cord has stopped pulsing completely, before being cut. My new baby niece – photo by Angela England

What is delayed cord clamping? Why did my midwife ask if that was something I wanted to do at my last prenatal checkup?

Many doctors and midwives are moving towards a longer delay in cutting the umbilical cord for a variety of reasons – most of them because of the benefits to the baby.

What is Delayed Cord Clamping?

Delayed cord clamping is exactly what it sounds like – it means waiting to clamp (and subsequently cut) the umbilical cord that links the mother and baby together. The recent trend of the past 50-70 years has been to clamp and cut the cord almost immediately – severing the baby from the blood and oxygen supply being provided by the mother.

Recently, many OB’s and midwives have been taking note of studies and trials highlighting the benefits of waiting even just 1-3 minutes to clamp and cut the umbilical cord. Especially in newborns who are “slow-starters” the benefits of that extra oxygen while their lungs transition to full breathing, may make a huge difference in Apgar scores.

Although delay in clamping the cord is associated with an increased risk of jaundice according to a 2008 study, the same study concluded that it doesn’t increase risk of maternal haemorrhage (previously thought to be the case) and “can be advantageous for the infant by improving iron status which may be of clinical value particularly in infants where access to good nutrition is poor.”

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© Copyright 2013 Angela England: Childbirth, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Pregnancy

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