What is Delayed Cord Clamping?
I have been finding in class that not many expectant parents have heard of the phrase ‘delayed cord clamping’. I feel that this is such an important topic to understand so I have decided to write a bite-size expectant parent blog on delayed cord clamping to help you understand what it is, quickly.
Delayed cord clamping is simply what it says on the ‘tin’. Not cutting the umbilical cord immediately following birth. Instead we wait for the umbilical cord to turn white and stop pulsating. At 5 minutes most cords are white and have stopped pulsating.
For years it has been routine practice to hand the birth partner the cord scissors so they can cut the umbilical cord, often this happened ASAP, moments following birth.
In more recent years there has been a growing body of research evidence supporting delayed cord clamping and cutting. This has led to professionals questioning this age old practice to cut the cord. To the point where we are seeing a big shift in post birth management in hospitals and in the community. A lot of maternity units and Midwives are adapting practices and equipment so they can support delayed cord clamping and cutting.
Why is it such a good idea?
By delaying separation by 5 minutes you baby will receive many benefits. I will point out a few here. When the cord is left to pulsate your baby will receive around 30% more blood from the placenta. This extra blood reduces their chance of anaemia, and their chance of infection. They will continue to receive oxygen from mum which will help your baby while they learn to breathe. They will also receive extra stem cells which helps with their growth and their immune system.
Do I need to request this?
Like I said, a lot of maternity units are adapting to routinely support delayed cord clamping. I would still recommend adding ‘delayed cord clamping’ to your Birth Plan/ Preferences.
Can I still cut the cord?
If you would like to cut the umbilical cord this is still possible after this extra time once the umbilical cord has been clamped. It will be much more enjoyable because you’ll be calmer and there won’t be any cord blood ready to spray out!