As soon as our baby is born, the umbilical cord, which links the placenta with the baby, is cut down immediately as we think of the umbilical cord as a relic. This practice had been going on for years; the doctors would simply cut away the cord in the first minute of a child’s birth.
However, more and more mothers have started debating whether it is better to cut down the umbilical cord right away or go for delayed cord clamping. If you are one of these mothers looking for the correct answers, you’re at the right place.
Before we dive into our primary topic, “benefits of delayed cord clamping,” let me clear what delayed clamping cord is.
What is cord clamping delay?
The umbilical cord is the primary source of a baby’s nutrients and oxygen for as long as they are in their mother’s womb. It connects the placenta to the baby’s belly, which transfers all essentials a fetus needs to grow.
In simple terms, the umbilical cord allows pulsating and transferring all necessary substances like billions of red blood cells, stem cells, white cells, oxygen, and blood from the cord to the baby.
Once the baby is born, this umbilical cord is still connected to the baby’s belly button, and the nutrient-rich blood remains inside it.
When the doctor cuts the umbilical cord away, all the nutrient-rich blood and minerals go to waste. This is why many mothers go for delayed cord clamp during the time of childbirth.
As the name suggests, delayed umblical cord clamping is the practice of postponing the detachment of the umbilical cord from your newborn to extract all possible nutrients and minerals inside it.
Usually, doctors clamp the cord right away or under 15 to 30 seconds after the child’s birth. This may be the correct way but not a beneficial one! In delayed cord clamping, your doctor allows the nutrient-rich blood in the umbilical cord to get to the baby before removing it.
How Long Is Delayed Cord Clamping?
When the baby is born, your cord-placenta system contains about 1/3 of blood, and the remaining 2/3 is with your baby.
After birth, cutting down the cord immediately has been practiced for 50 -60 years. But recent research shows that it is not suitable for the newborns baby miss out on a large amount of nutrient-rich blood unnecessarily when the cord is removed instantly.
So in the modern age, this has led to more changes and guidelines for the labor stage. The approach is to wait until the cord has stopped pulsating and becomes entirely white.
This ensures that all the nutrient-rich blood in the cord has been transferred to the baby, giving the newborn a healthy boost and start at life.
It is increasing as a regular practice in childbirth. Even with no medical facilities, the midwife should be able to feel if the cord is empty by just touching it.
Under any complications during childbirth, they must wait at least 1 – 3 minutes following the newborn’s birth before cutting the cord.
What Does Research Say?
Here are some research outcomes to prove the pros and cons of delayed cord clamping:
- It is found that babies who have delayed cord clamping after their birth have more skills and grow up with a more robust immune system.
- It increases hemoglobin levels and improves iron stores in the first several months of a baby’s life.
- It promotes higher levels of myelin in brain regions associated with motor, visual, and sensory functioning and processing.
- Evidence based birth “Delayed umbilical cord clamping is associated with significant neonatal benefits in preterm infants.
- Including improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, and lower incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular hemorrhage.” — American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
How long should delayed cord clamping be delayed?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that doctors should delay the cord clamping for at least 30-60 seconds.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends delayed cord clamping for a minimum of 1 minute or until the cord has stopped pulsing.
Ideally, you should wait until the umbilical cord is wholly drained, limp, and changes in white color.
- For a minute wait, the baby gets 50% of the cord blood (60 ml)
- For a 3-minute wait, the baby gets 90% of the cord blood (100 ml)
- And for around 5 minutes of waiting, the baby could get all of the necessary cord fluids through delayed cord clamping.
These are not EXACT entries, and the nutrient flow may vary from one baby to another. So the best time is to cut the cord is when it stops pulsing, begins to limp, and finally becomes white.
5 Amazing Long-Term Benefits of Delayed cord clamping
Below are five medically proven benefits of delayed cord clamping:
1. It lowers the risk of anemia.
Anemia is a health condition where your body lacks enough red blood cells to carry a satisfactory amount of oxygen to the body’s tissues. This happens due to insufficient iron or iron deficiency in the body.
Delayed clamping of the umblical cord naturally supplies the baby with extra iron, which is excellent, as iron plays a vital role in the proper development of infants.
It effectively fills iron stores for several first months (upto six) of the baby’s life. In the case baby is not getting enough iron, may get anemic as early as four months of baby life.
2. Umblical Cord Clamiping delay improves placenta delivery.
Along with providing significant benefits to your baby, delayed cord clamping may also reduce the chances of complications during placenta delivery. Trust me; your placenta will thank you for it!
3. What are the Potential Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping?
If your baby is born tinier than average babies and has a small birth weight, delayed cord clamping can benefit such conditions. It can provide a top-up of nutrients, minerals, and blood to your baby, which is enough to boost baby’s current and long-term health.
Delayed cord clamping provides an influx of iron-rich blood cells until the cord is pulsating. Some researchers even declare that the stem cells received during delayed cord clamping are essential to repair damaged cells.
4. Why Delay Cord Clamping?
Delayed cord clamping has proven to be highly beneficial in improving a child’s social and motor skills. The extra dose of nutrient-rich umbilical blood is crucial for the baby.
In a recent study, many children (aged 4) were given various assessments, tasks, and exercises. The researchers found that kids who had DCC at birth performed a lot better and interacted more than kids who didn’t have DCC.
It was also noticed that children with DCC had a refined and mature pencil grip. This shows how important it is for mothers to go for DCC during labor.
If they immediately cut the cord down, they can negatively fluctuate some excellent motor skills and social skills (like coordinating small muscles, such as hands and fingers) at the age of four to five years.
But if they have delayed cord clamping for at least 3 minutes after birth, the rates of social skills are higher and generate excellent motor skills than those who had immediate CC.
5. It increases stem cells.
Delayed cord clamping results in an infusion of stem cells, which plays a vital role in developing the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
So many beneficial internal functions take place with delayed cord clamping. If a baby has a severe birth problem, then with Delayed Cord Clamping, stem cells can help the baby to repair any brain damage during the complicated birth.
Delaying Cord Clamping for a premature baby
Delayed cord clamping is a blessing for premature babies as they are born underweight and weaker than an average mature baby. Premature babies get tons of benefits with DCC:
- Stabilized Blood Pressure
- Higher amount of red blood cells
- They don’t rely on ventilation and oxygen for many days.
- They need less blood transfusion
- Lower risk of hemorrhage
- They have a lower risk of any infection
- They have a lower risk of anemia
If you are aware of your pregnancy status and the risk of a premature baby, you definitely have to put DCC on your birth plan and discuss it with your delivery team.
Delayed cord clamping with C-Section
Doctors recommend Delayed cord clamping for a cesarean section delivery. Whether you have planned for DCC or have an emergency. It is becoming a common practice in almost all birth centers.
The world has come close to the wonders of delayed cord clamping. A 40-second delay in clamping provides the infant with a partial placental transfusion. Another approach during C-section delivery is to milk the umbilical cord, where time and speed are important factors.
Disadvantages of Delayed Cord Clamping?
Some studies have shown that DCC can slightly increase the chance of jaundice in newborns, but strong evidence shows that the benefits of DCC outweigh this.
Breast milk Jaundice is very common in newborns. Some newborn babies need phototherapy to get rid of jaundice.
Only a smaller spectrum covers these myths with the truth—some studies show that on delaying cord clamping, about 5% of babies required treatment for delayed cord clamping jaundice compared to 3% of babies.
When should we not apply Delayed Cord Clamping?
Mostly, DCC is beneficial in all aspects. However, there are a few risks of delayed cord clamping under circumstances that may be not suitable, such as:
- If the soon-to-be-mama has heavy bleeding after birth.
- If there is an issue with the placenta or the cord is bleeding.
- Cut the umblical cord immediately when baby faces breathing problems.
In the before-mentioned cases, a mother should not go for delayed cord clamping autism childbirth.
Delayed Cord Clamping and cord blood banking for the newborn baby.
The placenta is an organ that develops in the mammal’s uterus during pregnancy, which helps in nourishing the baby inside the womb through the umbilical cord.
It is attached to the wall of the mother’s uterus, and the baby’s umbilical cord arises from it. Inside the uterus, the placenta and umbilical cord provide the baby with oxygen, nutrients and clear his waste. Moreover, a baby’s total blood volume is present in the placenta only.
So, the blood circulating in the placenta is not extra or waste blood; it belongs to the baby. Even after birth, the cord pulsates, and the placenta continues to provide oxygen, nutrients, and blood back to the baby.
Delaying Cord Clamping blood is placental transfusion. And it is pretty necessary for the newborn health. The placental transfusion is the system that provides a baby with red blood cells, stem cells, and blood volume.
What do you lose in Immediate Cord Clamping?
Various studies have shown that immediate cord clamping can damage physiology, anatomy, and parts of the birth process.
Immediate delay umblical cord clamping separates the baby from the still functioning placenta and halts the blood circulation. It may lead to lower iron stores in the baby for up to 6 months after birth, and iron deficiency in the first few months of life is irreversible.
This can create complications for the mother, too. Delayed cord clamping of the umblical cord increases the risk of postpartum hemorrhage as well. It decreases the blood flow within the newborn’s umbilical cord, and it may create difficulty for the uterus to contract and expel the placenta.
Delaying camping of the umblical cord is a blessing for all kinds of babies, as it offers a nutrient-rich blood flow to the baby even after the child’s birth. Even when receiving a minimal amount of blood, it can be highly beneficial and significant for your baby.
When the cord is in the process of pulsating and placental transfusion, it supplies oxygen, nutrients, and a good volume of blood to your infant.
Furthermore, it may provide essential life support substances like oxygen, nutrients, blood rich in iron, red blood cells, stem cells, and immune cells to your baby after birth.
Delayed cord clamping is a godsend for children who take birth at a premature stage. DCC provides these children to survive easily with all life-supporting essential substances by restoring blood volume and protecting them against any damage, brain injury, or even death.
I hope you understand what benefits delaying the cord clamping brings to you. Soon-to-be-mamas, don’t fret; it is for your baby, all-natural. And my sweet moms out there, who have opted for DCC, share your story in the comment section and encourage other moms.