Delayed cord clamping: how delayed is delayed?

After a baby is born, it is still connected to its mother by the umbilical cord which is  connected to the placenta, and the placenta is still within the woman's body.  It is common for babies to have their cords clamped and then cut shortly after birth (sometimes within seconds), and this has been standard hospital practice until recently when this practice has been questioned. 

There has been much talk lately about delayed cord clamping, but just what do we mean by this?


There are various definitions out there.  For some, delayed cord clamping means delaying the clamping by about a minute.  For others, the clamping is delayed by 3-4 minutes or some other arbitrary time limit. Others will clamp the cord once it has stopped pulsating, and then others will clamp it once the placenta has arrived.

While the placenta is pulsating, it is delivering oxygen and nutrients to the baby via the blood.  Babies born after delayed cord clamping have much lower levels of anaemia and fewer breathing problems than babies whose cords have been clamped immediately.  More and more women are asking for their babies' cords to be clamped later, even after the placenta has been born.

In my practice, I find that most women will choose delayed cord clamping when they are fully informed of the benefits of this practice.   

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