Another Reason to Delay Cord Clamping

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Likely, you've heard the phrase "delayed cord clamping" -- it's the idea that all the blood in the placenta and umbilical cord should pump INTO the baby's body before the cord is cut, since it's intended to be the baby's own blood supply. Waiting just 94 seconds ups blood volume and helps prevent anemia in the baby's first year. While the benefits aren't very disputed, sadly, most OBs only wait an average of 17 seconds before clamping the cord.

Dr. Hutchon, a retired and decorated hospital consultant in the UK, invented (along with a team) The Basics Trolley. Basics stands for Bedside Assessment, Stabilisation and Initial Cardiorespiratory Support. This Trolley can save the lives of many babies, and help prevent a lot of temporary or life-long problems ... merely by allowing babies to remain attached by that umbilical cord.

It is set up right next to the mother and has a water heater and built-in resuscitator, so if there is an emergency, the baby can be resuscitated right there -- with the umbilical cord still attached. 

Why is this so important? Well, because along with the blood that the baby's body needs, also comes oxygen -- and in a baby who isn't breathing right away, that lack of oxygen if the cord is immediately cut can cause brain damage and sometimes even death.

Hutchon says, “In the first 20 seconds or so one of the reasons the baby is sometimes not breathing is that they are still getting plenty of oxygen from the placenta through the umbilical cord.”

Twenty seconds may not seem like that long, but for a mother waiting for the first cry, or a doctor holding a newborn that isn't breathing, it can seem like an eternity ... especially if the baby is deprived of oxygen. But thanks to Hutchon's invention, that's already being used at multiple UK hospitals, babies will still be receiving oxygen for at least the first critical minute or so.

In fact, evidence is so strong to support delayed cord clamping that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently changed their recommendations to require delayed cord clamping, and Hutchon's trolley will soon be available in all hospitals in the UK.

Now, American ACOG, it's about time you get on board!

Did you delay cord clamping on your baby?

 

Image via rkimplerjr/Flickr

complications, delivery, labor & delivery, tests & procedures

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Tal0n Tal0n

I delayed cord clamping.  My OB was awesome since I had an extra long cord and despite my telling her NOT to put the cord around her neck, she did so, twice.  Caused no issues, but another doctor would have freaked out and cut the cord right then and there.


She came out perfect, FYI.

LoveM... LoveMyBlessings

Yes, we delayed it a few minutes. You could see all the blood had gone through the cord before it was cut.

Phils... PhilsBabyMama

*By the way, my son's cord was wrapped around his neck, torso and each ankle.  Didn't cause any problems and we were still able to delay cord clamping/cutting.

Deva Millward

We had a home birth and did not cut our DS's cord until over an hour and a half after his delivery! It has made the biggest difference in his health as far as I am concerned!

Emily Heinzeroth

YES! we delayed for over an hour. My midwife waited until the cord stopped pulsing near his belly. He had such awesome clotting factors that they had a hard time doing the PKU test the next day...which proves that if you just have some patience even the vitamin K shot becomes obsolete. :)

jrp0606 jrp0606

I had to fight for it because I had a c-section but we were able to delay cutting the cord with my second son.  My first was born via true emergency c-section so they just wanted to get him out and get both of us stable.

Meighan Taylor

Where is the research on this? I wish that every time I read something like this in a blog or a FB update that they poster would include a link to the original source of information. Doing so would help women discuss these issues with their OB in a more assertive manner. If women had concrete proof in hand about these things, it would give their birth plans much more credence in the eyes of their OB's and nurses who are tending them. (Most) people who work in medicine have a healthy amount of respect for facts, and the more facts we can present to them about these issues that are important to us, the more it will open their eyes and help them broaden their ideas about what a labor and delivery can be. Links and facts please!!

Angela Maree Romney

My first two were cut immediately. I discovered midwifery and home birth with my last two. My husband was on board as soon as he learned that midwives delay cutting the cord. He always felt they cut it too quickly.  With my last two we waiting until it stopped pulsing, almost an hour. My first two were very white, my last two were nice and pink and dark. My last one was so dark his Ped was worried he had jaundice even though he wasn't yellow. He was just nice and healthy.

Islan... IslandRay2345

Wanted to but my family doctor said no.

Molly Doherty

I am convinced that delayed cord clamping saved my son's life. He suffered from Meconium Aspiration Syndrome and had trouble breathing after birth so leaving that cord intact provided him with the oxygen he needed until he could breathe on his own. My midwife (we had a homebirth) was wise enough to know how important it was that he receive all his blood and oxygen from the cord and was well able to perform all the necessary resuscitation procedures while he was still attached to me. He remained so until the EMTs arrived about 20 minutes after the birth when it became necessary to cut the cord for transport to the hospital. My son is now a completely healthy and very active 3.5yr old and I credit the fact that he did not suffer any oxygen-deprivation with delayed cord clamping and my midwife's wise actions.
I think it is criminal that OBs clamp and cut the cord within seconds after the birth and rob babies of the benefits of their attachment to their mother's body. Don't they see that they often create more problems than they're fixing? But wait... that's right, foolish me: they don't get the credit for "saving" the baby if the baby isn't whisked away immediately after birth. 

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