Delayed Cord Clamping – Benefits vs Risks


According to studies, delaying a minute or so after birth to cut the umbilical cord allows additional blood to pass from the placenta to the newborn. Later lowering the risk of anemia and iron shortage in infancy. In this article, we will share the benefits of delayed cord clamping. 

Delayed Cord Clamping

Throughout pregnancy, the umbilical cord together with the placenta contributes to the flow and regulation of fetal blood circulation. Delayed cord clamping is the time between the birth of a newborn and the clamping of the umbilical cord. 

Delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord promotes more blood to flow from the placenta to the newborn, increasing the baby’s blood volume by up to one-third. 

This increasing amount of research has prompted a number of organizations to suggest delayed umbilical cord clamping in full-term and preterm newborns. One of which is The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This suggests delaying cord clipping for at least 30 to 60 seconds after a newborn’s birth. 

Risks Associated Cord Clamping 

Potential risks of cord clamping include Jaundice. Jaundice is caused by a newborn’s failure to rapidly separate extra red blood cells. Bilirubin, the yellow pigment in the skin, is a result of the breakdown of old red blood cells. 

When an infant’s liver is unable to keep up with the clearance of bilirubin, the pigment accumulates in the blood and the complexion turns yellow. Moderate jaundice is quite frequent in babies and normally resolves on its own according to this study

Lastly, we do not recommend DCC for the following: 

  • Mothers who have abnormal placentas.
  • Women who are suffering a hemorrhage
  • Babies that require immediate medical attention

In these circumstances, doctors will promptly clamp the chord to concentrate on the mother and baby’s wellbeing.

Benefits Of Cord Clamping 

Studies have shown that blood volumes shift after birth, and that up 80–100 mL of blood passes from the placenta to the baby within the first 3 minutes after birth. Moreover, up to 90% of the blood volume transfer occurs within the first few breaths in healthy newborns.

1. Decrease The Risk Of Anemia 

In a 2013 study, delayed umbilical cord clamping was found to raise hemoglobin levels at birth. As well as enhance iron storage during the first months of life for the baby. In preterm infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping reduces the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage and necrotizing enterocolitis. Resulting in fewer babies requiring a blood transfusion. 

2. More Oxygen Exposure 

Leaving a preterm infant linked to the placenta helps balance them since the baby now has exposure to more oxygenated blood from the placenta. This is very good for preterm newborns, specifically those born before 31 weeks. In fact, this study suggests that delaying clamping improves their odds of survival dramatically.

3. Increase Cognitive Development

In addition, 4-month-old babies who had delayed cord clamping had better cognitive development in some parts of the brain. While 12-month-old babies were found to have superior neurologic results and cognitive scores.

4. Works with Cesarean and Vaginal Birth 

Regardless of whether you have a cesarean or vaginal birth, DCC will work for both. Delaying cord clamping after a cesarean birth poses no added risk to the mother or child since it’s performed after the placenta has been delivered from the mother’s uterus.

Umbilical Cord Banking 

Some parents opt to save the blood from their baby’s umbilical cord after birth for clinical research purposes. This blood has a significant amount of stem cells. It can be preserved and utilized to treat leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As always if you wish to try dcc and also bank cord blood, your healthcare professional can advise you on your alternatives.

Older studies claimed the blood volume being banked is reduced when the cord is not clamped. In addition, It is likely that cord clamping cannot be delayed for longer than 60 seconds while simultaneously banking cord blood. However, according to a 2018 research source, you are still able to collect cord blood when clamping occurred 30 to 60 seconds after birth.

The Midwives of Midwife360 

Pregnancy, preparation, and childbirth all involve a multitude of decision-making. If you are planning a family, you should learn everything you can about these modern pregnancy initiatives. Delayed cord clamping is one of them. 

As you’ve read DCC has several advantages for a newborn. Midwife 360’s skilled team of midwives and doulas will collaborate to provide the greatest possible result for your baby. If you’re considering this in your next birth plan contact us today!

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