Delayed cord clamping is a practice that involves delaying the clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord after a baby is born. This practice has gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Research has shown that delayed cord clamping can have significant health benefits for newborns.
The umbilical cord is the lifeline between mother and the baby during pregnancy. It provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients, as well as removes waste products. At birth, the baby's lungs take over the function of providing oxygen, and the umbilical cord is no longer needed. Traditionally, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut within seconds of birth. However, delaying this process can have a positive impact on the baby's health, if delaying can be done at birth.
Delayed cord clamping allows more blood to flow from the placenta to the baby, which can increase the baby's iron stores. Iron is important for the development of the brain and can help prevent anemia. Studies have shown that delaying cord clamping by just a few minutes can increase a baby's iron stores for up to six months. That's amazing!
In addition to increased iron stores, delayed cord clamping can also help with the baby's transition to life outside the womb. The extra blood and oxygen provided by the umbilical cord can help baby adjust to breathing on their own. This can be especially beneficial for premature babies, who may have underdeveloped lungs.
Delayed cord clamping can also have benefits for you, mama. The process can help reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage, or excessive bleeding after childbirth. When the cord is clamped immediately, it can cause the uterus to contract too quickly, which can lead to bleeding. Delaying cord clamping allows the uterus to contract naturally, which can help prevent excessive bleeding.
It's important to note that delayed cord clamping is not always possible or recommended in every situation. In some cases, immediate cord clamping may be necessary due to complications during labor or delivery. Additionally, some babies may have medical conditions that make delayed cord clamping risky.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 1 minute, or until the cord has stopped pulsing. Ideally, providers should wait until the umbilical cord is completely drained, limp and white in color.
- At the 1 minute mark, baby will receive 50% of the cord blood
- At the 3 minute mark, baby will receive 90% of the cord blood
- At around the 5 minute mark, baby gets all of the necessary cord fluids
Exact times may vary from baby to baby, so the best rule of thumb is to cut the cord when it stops pulsing and is limp and white in colour.
In conclusion, delayed cord clamping is a practice that can have significant health benefits for newborns and also you, mama. It can increase the baby's iron stores, help with their transition to life outside the womb, and reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage for mum. If you're pregnant, Your Mindful Mama recommends you talk to your healthcare provider, midwife or doula about the benefits and risks of delayed cord clamping and whether it's right for you and your baby. Don't forget to advise your birth team of your intentions and add delayed cord clamping to your birth preferences in your pregnancy planner.