What Is Delayed Cord Clamping?

What Is Delayed Cord Clamping?
As a mom-to-be, you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby’s health and safety. In your quest to fulfill your mission, you’ve likely heard about delayed cord clamping but might wonder what it is and what are the benefits and risks. Today we’re shedding light on what is delayed cord clamping. Ultimately, what you do for your baby’s birth is between you and your partner, and you should always consult with your physician about the risks and benefits of any procedure. This article will help you understand what to expect with delayed cord clamping and give you a foundational understanding before discussing with your doctor.

What Is Delayed Cord Clamping?

For quite some time, the popular practice was to clamp the umbilical cord immediately after delivery. Delayed cord clamping is simply what it sounds like: a delay in clamping the cord for 30 to 60 seconds after delivery and before the placenta is delivered. Shortly after it’s clamped, the umbilical cord is cut. Studies have shown compelling evidence that delayed cord clamping has enough benefits that the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends it.

What Are Delayed Cord Clamping Benefits?

Delayed cord clamping benefits both full and preterm pregnancies. In full-term pregnancies, it increases the baby’s hemoglobin levels, improving iron levels in the first month of life. Iron helps with development and learning and is essential for children at all stages of life. Delayed cord clamping has significant benefits for babies born prematurely, including:
  • Improved transitional circulation (the blood flow between the placenta and fetus)
  • Healthier red cell count
  • A decreased necessity for blood transfusions
  • Lowered incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, an inflammatory intestinal disease that affects premature infants
  • Lowered incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage, which is bleeding into the brain system

Are There Risks To Delayed Cord Clamping?

The main risk associated with delayed cord clamping is jaundice, a condition in which the skin and eyes turn yellow due to an insufficient breakdown of bilirubin. Additionally, delayed cord clamping may not be recommended if the mother is experiencing undue stress, such as excessive bleeding. Speak with your doctor about different scenarios in which they may have to decide to forego delayed clamping should the need arise during delivery.

Does Delayed Cord Clamping Cause Mothers To Hemorrhage?

At one point, there were concerns that delayed cord clamping could cause a mother to hemorrhage after delivery, but subsequent trials have shown that maternal hemorrhage is not a risk factor.

Who Should Do Delayed Cord Clamping?

This procedure is appropriate for various birth scenarios, including the following:
  • Full-term delivery
  • Premature births
  • Vaginal delivery
  • Cesarean delivery
  • Twin births

What Should I Do If I Want Delayed Cord Clamping At Birth?

Discuss your wishes to delay cord clamping with everyone who will be present at your birth. Be sure to include instructions in your birth plan, and if you’ve decided to bank your baby’s cord blood, give your cord blood collection kit to your doctor or midwife.

Delayed Cord Clamping And Cord Blood Banking

If you’re considering banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood for future use, it’s important to consider a study from the New York Blood Center (the largest donor bank in the U.S.) indicates that delayed cord clamping of 30 to 60 seconds does not significantly diminish the cell count of cord blood collected for cryopreservation. The general consensus is that with the right preparation, both options are completely feasible, allowing your baby to benefit from both procedures. Since banking cord blood and delayed cord clamping both have benefits, the likely recommendation will be to clamp the cord 30 to 60 seconds after birth to optimize the amount of bankable blood, which is in line with most recommendations.

Premium Cord Blood Banking Services: Protecting Your Baby’s Health Beyond Delivery

You’re living in a fantastic time with multiple ways to support your baby’s health. Understanding what delayed cord clamping is serves as a piece of the puzzle. Why not take the next step in protecting your child’s health and bank their cord blood? In our experience, healthcare providers have been able to collect a sufficient volume of cord blood for storage even when practicing delayed cord clamping, and AlphaCord has the tools to help you preserve your baby’s cord blood and delay cord clamping. Cord blood banking stores your baby’s newborn stem cells, giving them the best health treatments against over 80 different conditions, including cancers, blood, and metabolic disorders. At AlphaCord, we’ve made it our mission to make cord blood banking accessible to families of all backgrounds with premium, affordable cord blood banking services. Get started with your free info guide here.