Why We Should Delay Cord Clamping
Many moms have questions regarding delayed cord clamping. For centuries we have practiced cord clamping and cutting in the same fashion; so why this change in thinking now? Well research my dears… Typically after a baby is delivered, two clamps are place on the umbilical cord and it is cut between the two clamps. The baby is then placed under a warmer or on top of mom. Currently there is a bit of research that has found that delaying the clamping and cutting of the cord may have several benefits to all babies; especially those born before their due date.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (they do a lot of mommy/baby research), a delay of only 3 minutes in cord clamping actually allows baby the opportunity to receive an extra 50-80 ml of blood. This is a huge! The studies also show that the extra blood volume that a baby can receive with delayed cord clamping can be beneficial throughout the first few months of life. These babies have more iron stores (iron is essential for a healthy brain), stem cells, and immune cells for months after deliver. This increase in blood volume also allowed more oxygen to get to the lungs, which helps baby to transition easier to life outside the womb.
In addition babies born prematurely may especially benefits from this practice. Studies found that these newborns had more stable blood pressures, needed fewer blood transfusions, had less bleeding in their brains and may even have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) which is a life threatening bowel injury. Of course like everything there are risks associated with delayed cord clamping; the biggest being increased bilirubin levels, which may cause jaundice. Most studies mentioned that typically levels were not clinically high enough to require treatment, but this is still a risk.