Delayed cord clamping refers to when the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after pulsations have ceased, or until after the placenta is delivered.
Previously, doctors cut the umbilical cord and encouraged others to do so immediately after birth, thinking it reduced the risk of maternal hemorrhage.
Just this week The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) issued new guidelines recommending that “doctors and midwives hold off on clamping all healthy newborns’ cords for at least 30 to 60 seconds.”
Research found waiting a minute or two, especially in pre-term babies can “cut their risk of brain hemorrhage in half, allowing blood to flow from the placenta to the baby. For full-term babies, delayed cord clamping has been linked to long-term neuro-developmental benefits and improved iron levels.”
According to Dr. Maria Mascola, “While there are various recommendations regarding optimal timing for delayed umbilical cord clamping, there has been increased evidence that shows that the practice in and of itself has clear health benefits for both [all] infants”.
In addition to ACOG’s new stance on delayed cord clamping, The World Health Organization already recommends it and many hospitals and midwifery practices already routinely practice it.
“The biggest differences that a mom might notice right after vaginal delivery is that we won’t immediately ask the support person to cut the cord,” Smith said. “The baby will be placed on her chest with the cord still attached from the baby to the placenta that’s still inside the uterus.”