Delayed Cord Clamping
The umbilical cord is a very important organ, connecting you to your baby before your baby is born.
This lifeline provides all the necessary oxygen, iron, and countless other nutrients that your baby needs for optimal growth and development before delivery. The umbilical cord also contains stem cells, red and white blood cells, and immunoglobulins. These are essential products important for fighting disease and infection.
Growing evidence now supports clamping the umbilical cord after one minute of birth, as the transfer of cells and iron are beneficial to your baby as it takes its first breaths. This “delay” in clamping the umbilical cord after a length of time, rather than immediately at birth, is known as delayed cord clamping.
Although the optimal time for delayed cord clamping has not been determined, waiting to clamp the umbilical cord until after the first minute of life does show many benefits to term and premature babies.
In term infants, studies demonstrate that delayed cord clamping at one minute after birth leads to improved iron stores and decreased iron deficiency at 3-6 months of age. Iron is an important nutrient which supports growth and development of your newborn baby. Your baby will also use that iron to form red blood cells and transport oxygen to build muscle and other important tissues within the body.
In preterm babies, delayed cord clamping is associated with less need for blood transfusion and a reduction in certain complications related to prematurity.
New practice guidelines support waiting up to at least one minute before the cord is clamped. If your baby needs assistance or resuscitation at birth, the cord may be clamped immediately so that care may be given.
If you have further questions regarding delayed cord clamping at your baby’s birth, please feel free to talk to one of our providers at your next prenatal visit.
Northwest Women's Consultants
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