The Facts on Delayed Cord Clamping

So there’s plenty of back and forth in the birth world surrounding the pros and cons of delayed cord clamping at birth.

The ACOG or American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have officially identified the recommended time period for cord clamping as 30 to 60 seconds after birth. This month they listed some of the proven benefits of this delay in cord clamping for both preterm and full term infants.

In the past, many people have suggested that delaying the clamping of a newborn’s umbilical cord results in improved blood quality, better brain development and even stretching as far as quality of life.

But what is the most recent ACOG conclusion?

This past December, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provided families and physicians with some concrete information regarding delayed clamping to consider. The ACOG identifies the benefits of delaying the clamping at least 30 seconds after birth provides preterm and full term infants with a healthy advantage.

Recent research shows that a delay in cord clamping equates to additional blood volume gained by the placenta after birth. This same study suggests that this blood volume correlated with improved developmental outcomes. 

In preterm infants, delayed clamping provides the newborn with significant advantages. These advantages include improved transitional circulation, establishment of red blood cells and increased red cell volume, decreases in hemorrhage and the serious intestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis.

In both preterm and full term newborns, delayed clamping has been shown to improve iron levels and inhibit deficiency in their first year of life. Iron levels have been known to correspond with cognitive, motor and behavioral developments, making these levels extremely important.

Even though the topic is still being researched, it is yielding impressive conclusions. Scientists and researchers studying delayed clamping are looking to extend this study to a larger scale to better understand the pros and cons of delayed clamping. 

Research from various cord banking resources say that delaying does reduce the volume of blood for storage but shouldn’t discourage families from seeking more information about banking services if they’re interested.

Although it is a decision that many parents choose to include in their birth plans, ultimately doctors will make the decision on if/how long to clamp. Doctors will assess the baby’s health at birth and decide from there. If there are issues and baby needs to be taken, they won’t delay.

Armed with some emerging research in the field, delayed clamping is something worth discussing with your birth team.

The concept of delayed clamping is not a new process; in fact this discussion has been on the table for over 50 years. In the past, delayed clamping has been identified as anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes maximum. Many practitioners and have been utilizing delayed cord clamping methods for a long time, and many will delay the clamp unless there is medical cause to sever immediately.

If you’re expecting, consider browsing some of the exciting research that will aid you in better understanding of the pros and cons surrounding delayed cord clamping to see if this method is right for you.