Have you started to consider the concept of “delayed cord clamping” for your birth?
This part of your birth plan/preferences can be easy to overlook because we assume our provider will just tell us when it’s the right time. But there are some benefits to doing a little research and discussing what you’d like from your provider. Clamping and cutting too soon can actually have some drawbacks for your baby.
In recent years, the concept of “delayed cord clamping” has become increasingly popular, but what does that even mean? It can vary by the type of provider and how they learned.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommeds waiting at least 30 – 60 seconds before clamping the cord (although some will want to do it right away unless you ask otherwise). The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests waiting at least one minute before clamping for the best outcomes. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) recommends waiting 5 minutes before cutting the cord as long as the baby can be placed skin-to-skin, or at least 2 minutes if the baby is below the level of the belly button.
Research in The Journal of Pediatrics (2019) has demonstrated that waiting at least 5 minutes has pronounced benefits to infants. Waiting this time period can increase transfer of iron stores to the baby. The extra iron stores can help to mitigate iron deficiency and anemia. Additionally, the extra red blood cells and iron are needed to make myelin. Myelin is a fatty substance wrapped around the axons of nerve cells in the brain. More myelin leads to better transfer of message across nerve cells and therefore better brain processing. In particular for infants, increased myelination was seen in areas of the brain related to motor, sensory processing/function, and visual development.
If you’d like to dive even deeper into this topic, Rebecca Dekker, PhD, at Evidence Based Birth points to additional articles that you might find interesting here.
If you’re looking for someone to help support you in writing your birth plan and exploring your options around delayed cord clamping and more, please reach out and contact me!