Throughout pregnancy, the umbilical cord is the bond between mother and baby that delivers all nutrients, blood, and oxygen to the baby in the womb. When the baby is born, the cord continues to pulsate and blood is circulating for a few minutes after delivery. In standard practice during the delivery, this process is interrupted by clamping the cord immediately after birth (10 – 30 seconds).
However, recent research shows that an infant can greatly benefit from clamping the cord with a delay of 30 sec – 5 minutes from the moment of delivery, allowing more blood and iron to transfer from the placenta. This practice can bring 60% increase of RBCs and a 30% increase in neonatal blood volume. By performing DCC, an additional 40 to 50 mg/kg of iron transfers to the newborn, which reduces the risk of the baby suffering from the severe side effects associated with iron deficiency. The additional placenta blood and iron transfer is also vital for a healthy brain development. Delayed cord clamping should be longer than three minutes, as described in the above quote. Allowing the cord to completely stop pulsing is optimal.
The World Health Organization recommends that the umbilical cord should be clamped after the first minute. However, in some babies who can’t breathe on their own, the cord should be cut immediately to allow effective ventilation to be performed, it says.
Research shows that the benefits associated with DCC do overweigh the potential risks. The latter include neonatal respiratory distress, a type of blood cancer called polycythemia and jaundice from rapid transfusion of a large volume of blood. There is not enough evidence to prove DCC can increase the incidence of these complications.
Read more in the articles below.
More mothers than ever before are inquiring about delayed cord clamping (DCC). This rise correlates with the World Health Organization’s recommendation that the umbilical cord should not be clamped earlier than necessary. Although there is much debate surrounding the optimal time to clamp the umbilical cord, WHO’s findings suggest that late cord clamping (one to three minutes after delivery or longer) is recommended for all births.
Now, more health organizations are beginning to recommend delayed cord clamping. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has become one of the latest to advise medical professionals to wait at least 30 to 60 seconds before clamping and cutting. Throughout a pregnancy, the umbilical cord carries important nutrients and blood from the mother to the baby.