It wasn’t until a friend of mine asked me if I requested delayed cord-clamping on my birth plan that I had ever even heard those words before. So I started to look into it, and I found that it did a whole lot while requiring hardly any extra effort on the part of your delivery team.
Delayed cord clamping is simply prolonging the time between the delivery of your baby and the clamping of the umbilical cord. The delay can be anywhere from 25 seconds to 5 minutes after giving birth, depending on your healthcare provider. I had read that it is typically only done on preterm infants as they receive a lot benefit from the extra blood. That got me wondering that if it has such a huge impact on preemies, what is the benefit for full-term babies?
According to the APA, delayed cord clamping provides an increase of red blood cells (that carry oxygen) and an increase in a newborn’s blood volume for all babies. This means that your newborn is getting additional iron (which can help reduce risk of anemia) and the extra blood helps them have a smoother transition from life in the womb to the outside world by helping their lungs get more blood. Another study showed that all of this was still true at two months after delivery for babies that had delayed cord clamping. It’s all pretty amazing!
Many doctors are starting to make it a standard practice, but it won’t hurt to ask to be sure if you feel that this is something that you want. There are some birth plan templates out there that already have this as an option that you can check off.
As with anything, it is always good to look at potential risks. According to the APA, the benefits outweigh the risks but always talk to your doctor because together you can come up what is best for both you and baby.
Lisa is a babywearing, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering mama that loves exploring all things natural parenting.