Delaying Cord Clamping Explained! (VIDEO)


delayed cord clampingWhen your baby is born, there are so many things that happen so quickly, but each one of them has rhyme, reason ... and repercussions. The general theme that the ACOG, March of Dimes, and many other medical organizations have been trying to make clear to people is this: Patience. We need it.

Whether it's letting your body take longer to dilate, waiting through the normally occurring stalls in labor that are intended to let the mother rest, or realizing that sometimes inductions can take days, we just need to slooooow dooooown.

Another place we need a little more patience? Cutting the baby's umbilical cord. Generally done within the first few seconds, this rush to cut can cause a lot of immediate issues for the baby, as the awesome Penny Simkin demonstrates in a very easy-to-understand video.

So, like she demonstrates so beautifully, even if there's a medical issue or baby needs to be resuscitated, it's still imperative the cord remain attached to the placenta as long as possible. In fact, in a baby who is struggling, the cord remaining attached is even more important than a baby who isn't, since if they're not breathing through their lungs yet, they're still getting oxygen through the cord -- cut that, and then they aren't getting oxygen from anywhere. A special trolley has even been invented and is spreading like wildfire through hospitals that allows resuscitation at the mother's bedside, so the cord doesn't have to be clamped.

delaying cord clampingIt's really a large volume of blood that the placenta holds for the baby, isn't it? The amount that gets wasted when doctors are in a rush to clamp is really shocking. Even though emergency birth shows always have someone running for shoelaces and scissors to tie off the cord, it's really not a good idea. In fact, some people leave it on, wrapped in leaves in a bundle, until it falls off naturally -- that's called a "Lotus Birth." I'm not really on board there since I think nature has made it clear that mammals are intended to chew off and then consume the placenta once it's empty (or in humans, take it in pill-form at least), but either way, it's not meant to be cut from the baby's body until it has done its job. Anemia through the first year of life and low blood pressure risks are just some of the many things risked if the cord is clamped early. Even two minutes can make a big difference!

Now, it's still important to say that some studies show there might be some downsides, such as increased risk of jaundice, but currently the recommendation is to wait at least 1-3 minutes (which, really, isn't that long at all), or until the cord is done pulsing and looks limp. I do have to admit, though, I haven't looked into nor do I know how this relates to c-section babies. I'm sure there are lots of brilliant women out there who do know, though!

Did you have any idea how much blood was still in the placenta? Did you or your doctor delay cord clamping?


Image via YouTube

delivery, labor & delivery, tests & procedures, newborns, natural parenting


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miche... micheledo

Could you please post a link to the video?  For some reason the videos only show as an empty space on the page (when I am on cafemom).

ArmyW... ArmyWife8297

wow thanks for posting

Em Chappell-Root

Both of my boys had severe Jaundice. Both were clamped and cut immediatly after birth (my oldest for resuccitation purposes, he had the cord around his neck three times and an initial Apgar of 2). We had to bring home a light bed for both of them. My daughter, who was born naturally in water, did not have the cord cut until after it stopped pulsing, and also experienced no jaundice or weight loss (Both of my boys lost about 10% of their birth weight the first couple days, though were back up within a week). Delayed clamping and cutting is best, whenever feasible.

Aislinn Kathleen Mary Bradley

naturally occuring jaundice isn't a bad thing it happens for a reason..and delayed cord cutting is a ridiculous term as naturally it shouldn't be cut, calling it premature cutting would be more accurate

Sabri... SabrinaMBowen

Our doctors waited, we didn't have a say. I was upset because we wanted desperately to bank it, and they told us they couldn't because the baby took all the blood... With illnesses like ALS in the family, having that blood on bank would have been a great benefit!

FebPe... FebPenguins

We delayed cord cutting in both of my children. They had no problems whatsoever. I had already read up on the subject and my very wise (25 years experienced) midwife agreed.

Clairene Maryann Guerra

Unfortunately for both of mine it was cut immediately, Thierry had the entire umbilical cord removed from his belly button because they had to put a IV line there immediately after birth. Petri, premature, they cut immediately to bring him to NICU. I absolutely agree with delayed cord cutting and if I am blessed with another child, who doesn't require immediate care, we will most definitely be delaying.

And as for banking the blood, studies have shown that a lot of the time, blood isn't a match for relatives.

Bridget Haulman

There is a situation where cutting the cord asap is better. My blood type is O+ and my 1st three kids were all the same, so no issues. My 4th child, however, ended up being B+ and due to blood incompatibility he ended up on medication for 48hrs and had to be in the NICU on 3 lights due to jaundice. Had they not cut the cord, it would not have helped his situation. I DO believe, however, that in most cases it is best to delay. For moms out there that are O+ and have had a baby that is not, delaying may be more risky for the baby since once you've had a child with a different blood type, you're more likely to do so again. So in conclusion... YAY for those that can used the delayed technique to help their babies as that is how our bodies were made for a reason, but let this comment serve as an informational heads up to moms who may have an issue with blood incompatibility. :-)

Curts... Curtsmomma

My first son I didn't do this with.  He lost more weight in the beginning than my 2nd son who I did do this with.  My second son was 8#9oz at birth, went to 8#4oz at discharge 2 days later, and at 5 days old was 8#10.5oz!  He was a tiny bit yellow, but not jaundiced in his tests.  He was much more vigorous nursing than DS1, which could have just been his attitude, but I think he was a lot more alert in the beginning because he had the extra blood.

Anne Harper Simmance

We delayed cord clamping with my second daughter. The cord stopped pulsating after 8 minutes, and was cut at 13. The blood volume babies miss out on when the cord is clamped too soon is quite shocking!

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