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 as a relic – part of our child’s life support system is now no longer needed.
The cord and placenta are the kind of external circulation system of our baby as one vein carries fresh oxygen and nutrients rich blood from the placenta to the baby and the other two arteries carry carbon dioxide-rich blood and waste away from baby for purification.
So. allowed to pulsate and transfer all necessary substances like billions of red blood cells, stem cells, white cells, oxygen and blood from the cord to the baby. These all are allowed to transition to life outside the uterus to your newborn as he becomes stable. It is a Delayed Cord Clamping.
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Duration for Cord Clamping:-
When your baby is born your cord and placenta system contains about 1/3 of blood in the placenta and the remaining 2/3 is with your baby.
After birth cutting down cord immediately practiced for 50 -60 years but recent researches show that it is not good for the baby. As a newborn miss out a large amount of blood unnecessarily with cutting down cord immediately after birth.
So in the modern age, this has led to more changes and guidelines to practice towards delaying cord clamping. The guideline is to wait until the cord has stopped pulsating and becomes white.
It is increasing as a regular practice in births where there are even no medical facilities.
Even in the lack of medical facilities usually, the midwife should be able to feel by just touching to the cord. If there is a reason not to wait for the time, then also they should wait at least 1 – 3 minutes following the birth of the newborn before cutting the cord.
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What Does Research Say?
In so many researches it is found that – Babies who have delayed cord clamping in a few minutes after their birth having some more skill than those whose cords cut down immediately after birth.
A NICE guideline is that the cord clamping is delayed in all birth centers for at least 1 -5 minutes in all newborns. If the fetal heart is less than 60 bpm and not getting faster, if this is the reason then the only baby may need to take away to get breathing support.
How long cord clamping should be delayed?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that the cord should be delayed for at least 30-60 seconds.
The World Health Organisation recommends delayed cord clamping for 1 minute or until the cord has stopped pulsing.
Ideally, it should have waited until the umbilical cord is wholly drained, limp and changes in white color.
- For 1-minute wait, baby gets 50% of the cord blood
For 3 minutes wait, baby gets 90% of the cord blood
And for around 5 minutes wait baby could get all of the necessary cord fluids through delayed cord clamping.
There are no EXACT times that may vary from one baby to another, So, the best time is to cut the cord when it stops pulsing and it begins to limps, finally becomes white.
7 Benefits of Delayed cord clamping
1. It Lower risk of anemia rate
Delayed cord clamping naturally supply baby with iron, as iron plays a vital for life and the proper development of infants. Because soon after birth recent breastmilk is insufficient in iron.
As soon-be-mama needs iron to rebuild and nourish her body after birth. So the baby doesn’t get enough iron with breastfeeding. But if the baby is benefited with delayed cord clamping, he gets all the necessary substances with it.
It is researched that anemic mothers also benefited from delayed cord clamping. The delay improved iron stores and hemoglobin levels in babies born to anemic mothers.
Delayed cord clamping provides a lot of influx of iron-rich blood cells until the cord is pulsating.
Some researches declare that the stem cells received during delayed cord clamping are essential to repairs damaged cells. It’s crucial for immune functions effectively throughout the entire life of a person.
Babies who have immediate cord clamping may be anemic at four months of age as they will not gain access to the part of their blood which itself in the placenta.
2. Benefits of the extra blood of the placenta
The extra blood in the placenta will save a baby from anemia and iron deficiency during his first years of life. The extra blood through delayed cord clamping increases baby’s iron storage which is essential for healthy brain development.
If baby’s umbilical cord clamped cut immediately he misses out of that iron infusion and he may be struggling with anemia in his recent years of childhood.
If they immediately cut the cord down they can negatively fluctuate down some excellent motor skills as well as social skills (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.
Additional Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
Besides the benefits which come with the adequate iron for the babies, it also has a smoother cardiopulmonary transition at birth.
Another potential benefit of the Delayed cord clamping is to ensure that the baby can receive an increased volume of blood. It will naturally increase the blood platelet which is needed for blood clotting.
Stem cells are increased:-
Delayed cord clamping results in an infusion of stem cells, which plays a vital role in the development of the immune system, respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous system.
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 hard birth.
3. Cord clamping for a premature baby
Delayed cord clamping is the blessing for premature babies as they are born underweight. Premature babies get lots of benefits with DCC:
- Stabilized Blood Pressure
- The 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 know your pregnancy status and having the risk of a premature baby. Then definitely, you have to put delayed cord clamping on your birth plan and discuss it with your birth team.
4. Delayed cord clamping and Cesarean section
Delayed cord clamping can still be applied if there is a cesarean section, whether you have planned or 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.
40-seconds delay in clamping provides the infant with a partial placental transfusion. Another approach at the time of C-section delivery is to milk the umbilical cord where time and speed are important factors.
So, if you have a c-section even than you can add DCC in your birth plan, which will give you an opportunity to talk about DCC and your infant will also get benefits from DCC.
Is DCC increasing the risk of jaundice to a newborn?
Myths about DCC
Some studies have shown that DCC can slightly increase the chance of jaundice in the newborn but strong evidence shows that the benefits of DCC outweigh this.
Jaundice is very common in newborns, however, only a few babies may need phototherapy to help get rid of jaundice no matter when the cord was clamped.
Only a smaller spectrum covers these myths with the truth…Some studies show that delaying in cord clamping about 5% of babies required treatment for jaundice compared to 3% of babies who had early cord clamping.
5. Injection to deliver the placenta
Of course yes, if you have injection it usually takes 5-10 minutes before the placenta is delivered and your cord remains intact allowing for the transfer of the blood to your baby.
6. When should we not apply DCC?
Mostly, DCC is beneficial in all aspects. However, there are a few circumstances which 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 if the cord is bleeding.
- Even If the baby has an issue of breathing, the cord may need to be cut immediately.
7. What is the placenta
The placenta is an organ that develops in mammal’s uterus during pregnancy which helps to nourish and to maintain 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 placenta and umbilical cord provide the baby with oxygen, nutrients and clear his waste.
As fetal life, the baby needs a small amount of blood and the placenta plays an essential role in the lung, kidneys, gut, and liver for the baby. 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 continuing to provide oxygen, nutrients, and blood back to the baby.
This type of blood is called placental transfusion and it is pretty, necessary for the newborn.
The placental transfusion is the system that provides a baby with red blood cells, stem cells, and blood volume.
Risk of immediate cord clamping
Various studies have shown that immediate cord clamping can damage physiology, anatomy, and the birth process.
Losses in immediate cord clamping:-
Immediate cord clamping severs the baby from the still functioning placenta and halts the blood circulations.
It may lead to the lower iron stores in the baby for up to 6 months after birth. Iron deficiency in the first few months of life is irreversible.
This can create complications for the mother, too. Early cord clamping increases the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
It decreases the blood flow within the umbilical cord of the newborn. It may create difficulty for the uterus to contract and expel the placenta.
DCC leaves with the baby after birth and avoids disturbing the normal birth process.
The cord is in the process of pulsating and placental transfusion is supplying the oxygen, nutrients, and of course a good volume of blood to your infant.
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 blessing for the children who take birth in a premature stage.
DCC provides these children to survive easily with all life-supporting essential substances by restoring blood volume and protects them against any damage, brain injury, or even death.
I hope you understood 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, do share your story in the comment section and encourage other moms, until then
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