Here Are Reasons to Delay Cord Clamping
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The growth of cord clamping has become so common. The thought of a pediatrician clamping newborn baby’s cord immediately after birth is no longer as alarming as it once was. 

Today, many clinical practices are more than willing to delay cord clamping. Or even let it hang after birth, especially if there is no evidence of distress or poor blood flow. 

There are several reasons to consider delayed timing of cord clamping, and many doctors are doing so now.

Before we discuss these reasons, let’s talk about the process of delayed cord clamping (also called delayed umbilical cord occlusion).

How Delaying Cord Clamping Works

When doctors clamp the umbilical cord immediately after birth, it can cause severe blood loss. It can also cause immediate injury to the newborn’s lungs and brain. 

But delaying the cord clamp for 10-15 minutes can allow enough time for an adequate amount of blood to flow from the placenta into the baby’s body, which can help prevent brain injury. 

Also, there is a small amount of clotting in the umbilical vein that takes place shortly after birth, which can cause a small amount of bleeding as well. 

As long as it does not hinder this clotting process, it will allow for an adequate amount of blood to flow from the placenta into the baby’s body.

In addition, some doctors are now encouraging delayed cord clamping because it can help with problems such as apnea and reflux.

RELATED: Welcoming A Newborn: Does It Make Sense for a Baby to be Born Before the Due Date?

The Cord

In the last several years, doctors have become more aware of the umbilical cord’s role in transferring nutrients and oxygen to the baby. 

It is important to note that most pediatricians agree that there is no benefit to leaving a baby attached to a cord longer than 2 minutes after birth. 

However, many have different opinions on this subject. 

As we mentioned above, when a cord is clamped immediately after birth, it can cause severe blood loss and immediate injury to the newborn’s lungs and brain. 

Clinical trials have shown that up to half of all babies experience brain damage when they are immediately cut off from their blood transfusion sources. 

But what about leaving a baby attached for up to five minutes? This neonatal outcome is something that many doctors are considering and is the current standard of care.

Cord clamping immediately after baby delivery.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

Blood

One of the biggest concerns with leaving a baby attached to the cord is that it can lead to jaundice disease, due to an excessive amount of blood entering the baby’s body. 

Many pediatricians are concerned about this possibility and have even seen it happen. 

Studies have shown that allowing a baby to remain attached to the cord after birth has been associated with lower rates of neonatal asphyxia and lower rates of early death among babies. 

The reason for this decrease in deaths has not been determined but may be related to better placental transfusion and improved blood flow into the newborn’s body after birth.

Growth

Another reason that many doctors are considering delayed cord clamping is that it can help with problems, such as apnea and reflux. 

This is because leaving the cord attached can help to slow down or stop the heart rate from dropping too low after birth. 

This will allow for the baby’s heart rate to stay at a higher level, which can prevent problems such as apnea and reflux. 

In addition, there is some evidence that delaying cord clamping may be beneficial for babies who are small for their gestational age (smaller than the average growth percentile). 

There is also some evidence that leaving a baby attached to the cord may help prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) after birth.

A newborn baby after their cord clamping.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

Is Delaying Umbilical Cord Clamping Good for You?

There are many reasons to consider delaying cord clamping, including the fact that it can help with problems such as apnea and reflux. 

Some doctors have even encouraged delayed cord clamping practice because it can help with problems such as apnea and reflux. 

In addition, there is some evidence that leaving an infant attached to the cord may help prevent anemia (low blood sugar) after birth, especially for preterm infants.

Our website, The Mindful Parent, has more information about the delivery process and its stages, as well as other birth plan topics. Check out our website now!