It’s standard practice at most hospitals to clamp and cut the umbilical cord very soon after the baby is born. This practice was likely started because you can’t move the baby very far from the mother when the cord is still attached – especially if the placenta has not yet been delivered, which can take up to 30ish minutes after the baby comes out. So no putting the baby under the warmer, cleaning the baby off, weighing/swaddling/etc. We elected to delay cord clamping and cutting. Instead, we waited for the cord to finish transferring blood from the placenta to BabyRoX.
What happens when the cord is cut within 30 seconds of birth? The iron-rich blood in the placenta, which takes a few minutes to transfer to the baby, now has no way of getting to where it is needed. Delaying cord clamping increases the baby’s blood volume by up to one-third (1/3), which helps prevent anemia. Higher iron stores have been found even 3 months after birth in infants whose cord clamping was delayed.
Routine hospital practices are slow to change, but it IS starting to happen as evidence of the benefits of delayed cord clamping mounts.Says one OB/GYN: “If the burden of proof is on us to prove that immediate clamping is good, that burden is clearly not met. And furthermore, there is strong evidence that delaying clamping as little as 30 seconds has measurable benefits for the infant, especially in premature babies and babies born to iron deficient mothers.”
Also, here’s a great video that shows why delayed cord clamping is helpful:
Obviously, each parent must make decisions based on what they feel is best/healthiest for their child. Will a child be seriously harmed by immediate cord clamping? Most likely the answer is no. But why routinely do something that denies a child certain health benefits from the get-go? Furthermore, unless you actively research birth, routine practice, and BEST practice, you wouldn’t even know to ASK for delayed cord clamping at the birth of your child.
What special requests did you/will you make for the birth of your child? What surprised you about your prenatal, labor, and delivery experience?