When baby is born, he only has 2/3 of his blood is in his body. The remaining 1/3 remains in his umbilical cord and placenta. This blood does not flow into baby until the last stage of labor.
What is the last stage of labor? It is that period of time after baby is born until the time the placenta is born. It’s this stage of labor that the cord actively pumps the remaining blood into baby; blood that is very rich in iron, oxygen, and stem cells.
Delayed Cord Clamping
Delayed cord clamping means waiting 90 seconds (ideally it’s 15 minutes) after baby is born before you clamp and cut the umbilical cord. This amount of time allows more than 90% of the blood to pulse from placenta to baby.
Once this ‘blood transfusion’ is complete, the cord will naturally stop pumping blood. Place the baby right on top of mom’s belly to get the most out of this transfusion.
At bare minimum, wait 90 seconds to clamp and cut baby’s cord. Many babies don’t receive the full amount of blood because their cord is cut too soon. These babies miss out on 60% of red blood cells, iron, stem cells, and white blood cells …. all the basics that support a baby’s growing body, brain, and immune system for life.
The World Health Organization (WHO) no longer recommends immediate cord clamping. Unless there’s a special situation where baby needs immediate care, most doctors and midwives are open to delaying cord clamping. You just need to let them know ahead of time. It is a smart idea to request your desire to delay cord clamping in bold on your birth plan. That way, everyone on board, including the attending nurses, will know of your desire.
Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping for Baby
- Provides oxygen-rich blood
- Provides 4-8 teaspoons of fetal blood
- Protects baby from iron deficiency
- Lowers risk of anemia
- Provides red/white blood cells
- Provides stem-cell* rich blood
- Increases baby’s birth weight
- Gives preemie babies a better outcome
- Promotes healthy neonatal cardiopulmonary transition
- Reduces birth asphyxia (inadequate oxygen to brain) and risk of cerebral palsy
*Stem cells play a key role in the health of baby’s immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous system. The stem cells in fetal blood are higher than any other time in life. If cord is immediately clamped, 1/3 of these cells remain in the placenta and not in the baby.
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Science of Mom (2012). Delayed Cord Clamping. http://scienceofmom.com/2012/10/11/why-consider-delayed-cord-clamping/
Winder, K. (2016). 8 Reasons Not To Cut Baby’s Cord. http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/reasons-not-to-cut-your-babys-umbilical-cord/
May all bellies be happy!