Let’s do a vocab refresher before I dive into this-
What is delayed cord clamping?
After the baby’s birth, the umbilical cord is attached from baby’s belly button to the placenta. Which means, nutrient-rich blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta; iron-rich red blood cells, and stem cells that baby needs.
How much blood are we talking? Anywhere from 25-60% of your baby’s circulating blood volume is still contained within the placenta and umbilical cord at birth.
What are the benefits of delayed cord clamping?
A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics shows that waiting five minutes or more before clamping the umbilical cord, while infants are held skin-to-skin with the mother, leads to more myelin development. Myelin is a fatty substance in the brain that wraps around all of the axons of the nerve cells. PMC6259583
Another study concluded “Delayed cord clamping, compared with early clamping, resulted in improved iron status and reduced prevalence of iron deficiency at 4 months of age, and reduced prevalence of neonatal anemia, without demonstrable adverse effects. As iron deficiency in infants even without anemia has been associated with impaired development, delayed cord clamping seems to benefit full term infants even in regions with a relatively low prevalence of iron deficiency anemia.” PMC3217058
The quick and dirty benefits of delayed cord clamping-
This 'benefits' list is ever growing!
Now, delayed cord clamping cannot always be implemented. For example, women with abnormal placentas, women experiencing a hemorrhage, or babies needing immediate medical care would not be candidates for delayed cord clamping.
If you’re interested in delayed cord clamping, I urge you to look more into it! Speak with your doctor, midwife, doula, parent, etc. to develop your plan. If you decide to go ahead with delayed cord clamping, make sure it’s in your birth plan!
Dr. Taryn Stittleburg, DC, CFMP, PSc.D