Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
If you’ve ever been present for a natural birth, you probably noticed how the healthcare provider would let some time pass before clamping the cord. This is called delayed cord clamping, often encouraged over immediate cord clamping.
Once the baby’s born, delaying the time of clamping the cord helps to ensure that the maximum amount of blood cells goes back to the baby from the cord.
In the meantime, we initiate skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby and then wait for the cord to stop pulsing and become limp and white. At this point, we clamp the cord and then eventually cut it.
The whitening of the cord indicates that the baby has received all the necessary blood from the placenta back into their body.
For How Long Should You Delay Cord Clamping?
The timing for the complete return of blood from the cord to the baby varies from minutes to half an hour after birth.
We always wait for the cord to stop pulsing to ensure that all the red blood cells go back to the baby. However, if you can not wait for that long for any reason, it is recommended that you wait for a minimum of 60 seconds according to ACOG.
In hospital settings, the delay might be shortened if the baby needs immediate medical attention and needs to be shifted away from the mother. However, if there is no urgency to transfer the baby, you can always request your provider to delay the clamping.
Why Is Delayed Cord Clamping Beneficial?
- Prevents the risk of fetal anemia
- Improves early fetal outcomes
- Prevents the risk of fetal hypoxia, which is often seen in babies that have had immediate cord clamping
- Allows healthcare providers to initiate skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby
At Willow Midwife Center for Birth & Wellness, we practice delayed cord clamping as a standard part of our care. Send us a message if you want to learn more about our care!