Delayed Cord Clamping

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Delayed cord clamping refers to the practice of clamping the umbilical cord after it has stopped pulsating. The usual hospital practice is to clamp and cut the cord straight away, however new wisdom (practiced for many years by private midwives) challenged the usual practice.

Soon after a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped. But just how long those minutes should be, in between birth and clamping, is the subject of some controversy.

New research from Sweden shows that a delay in clamping the cord, by just a few minutes, results in improved iron levels for babies ... iron is crucial for healthy development of the brain and central nervous system.

... For the babies whose clamping was delayed, there were fewer instances of anemia two days after birth. By four months of age they showed a 45 percent higher mean ferritin concentration ... and a lower prevalence of iron deficiency than the babies who had been clamped early.

In the early clamping group, researchers noted that the degree of iron deficiency was moderate, rather than mild. All infants, from both groups, had similar weights and lengths as well as similar levels of hemoglobin.

Delayed cord clamping permits additional blood, including iron, to reach the neonate. The controversy comes in, however, because ... later clamping can have a potential for ... maternal hemorrhage ...

In the event of excessive bleeding, the cord could be clamped and cut and Syntocinon administered to stem the bleeding. Delayed cord clamping is my usual practice. I do not generally cut or clamp the cord until after the placenta has been born.

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