Delayed Cord Clamping
Delayed Cord Clamping:
Many people do not understand cord clamping. We are familiar with seeing the baby being born and the cord being cut straight away and handed to either mom or the nursing staff. Did you know though that cutting the cord immediately after birth is not as beneficial as delaying this procedure?
A friend of mine when expecting baby #4 brought this topic up for conversation with her Doctor. She was telling him about how she wanted to have delayed cord clamping for her new baby. Her doctor retorted saying that it is a dangerous procedure that causes the blood in the baby to drain back into the placenta and can be harmful to the baby.
When I heard this I thought, “You’re joking, right?” I wasn’t necessarily shocked by this information. I knew that he was wrong simply from doing my own research, but I was shocked because I didnt realize that mainstream Doctors really BELIEVED that! Unfortunately I have learned that many Doctors do believe that this is true and are telling their patients this same information.
There are many benefits for leaving the cord attached to baby, unclamped for many minutes after birth. One big one is that 1/3rd of a babys white blood cells are in the cord at the time of birth. When you cut the cord immediately after birth those white blood cells never make it into baby.
I read a study many years ago that talked about how the babies who had DCC (Delayed Cord Clamping) had blood vessels that were more round & fuller shaped. The babies who had ICC (Immediate Cord Clamping) had blood vessels that looked more like a deflated balloon or a raisin in texture and shape. This study claimed that when the cord is left attacked and unclamped on baby, a full amount of the babys blood enters into their own system and causes these vessels to open up fully.
There is also some information to suggest that when the baby enters into the birth canal and is born a release is able to happen from the placenta as there is reduced pressure on the plcetna and the blood can flow more freely into the baby. The blood in the cord was always MEANT for your baby.
In one of the studies listed below a clinical test was done on 2 test groups. In Group A the cord was clamped immediately. In Group B it was delayed. This test was done on premature babies; the conclusion of this test was that the babys in Group B (DCC) had less of a need for blood transfusions. The results of this study show that when you leave the cord unclamped and allow baby to get all of its blood, babies are healthier from the start. If this is true for preemies, its still true for full term babies as well.
In another study listed below, babies that are born to moms with low iron had a better start to life when delayed cord clamping was followed then those that had immediate cord clamping.
Even more info is out there, about the misconception that mothers with an Rh negative blood factor need immediate cord clamping for their health and their babies. Yet research suggests that it actually harms both mom and baby to cut the cord too soon.
Please take some time to look through all the articles & video at the end of this blog post. There is a lot of great information out there. Enjoy!
I wanted to post one tid-bit from a site I read about just some of the cons to baby alone with immediate cord clamping.
The Effects of Cord Clamping on the baby.
Before birth, a baby’s blood is distributed throughout his or her placenta
and body. The blood in the baby and in the placenta rightfully belongs to
the baby and should go with him or her at birth. Many health practitioners
mistakenly think that the baby’s body is already full of blood and that the
placental blood is excess. The placental blood, however, serves and
Prior to birth, the baby’s lung alveoli are fluid-filled, and as such they
keep the blood vessels of the lungs constricted, automatically impeding the
flow of blood to the lungs. When a baby is passing through the birth
canal, the pressure exerted all around his body forces the fluid up and out
of his lungs so that by the time he is born, the major portion of his lungs
is clear of fluid. At birth the blood vessels of the lungs fill with blood
and, within seconds, the baby starts to breathe. This increased need for
pulmonary blood flow to breathe, combined with the increased movement of
the baby’s arms and legs, provides ample use for the placental blood.
When the cord is clamped immediately, the baby attempts to breath right
away, without the aid of the oxygenated blood from the placenta. For
premature babies, this can be particularly consequential. Several American
reports suggest a tendency among hospital-born babies whose cords are
immediately clamped to have poor circulation and bluish limbs.
If a blood pressure gauge is placed on an unclamped umbilical cord, it
will pick up pressure rises as high as 60 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury)
with each uterine contraction. This indicates that these contractions are
intimately involved in the transfer of placental blood through the cord. A
striking pressure rise, which persists through the first few hours of life,
is also evident in the baby’s vena cava and right atrium of the heart. 6
All studies on this indicate a significantly higher systemic pressure in
infants who have been clamped late (90 percent in the first nine hours),
and conversely a significant drop in pressure in early clamped infants (70
percent of systemic by the second hour, and almost 50 percent of systemic
by the fourth hour).
Furthermore, three groups of researchers have independently reported that
early clamped infants have a much higher incidence of cardiac murmurs
during the first 14 days of life. 7 Granted, under certain circumstances,
a baby’s cord must be clamped immediately for instance, when it is wrapped
too tightly around the nick. However, under ordinary circumstances it
appears that an early clamped infant may not be operating at full potential.
This article is just one of MANY that talk about so many reasons why delayed cord clamping is better! Read through the links below and gain a wealth of knowledge on the subject!
Sources and Links for more Info:
http://academicobgyn.com/2009/12/03/delayed-cord-clamping-should-be-standard-practice-in-obstetrics/ –> a really good perspective from an OB who over time in their career changed their thinking from Pro Immediate Cord Clamping, to trying to change her entire practice to not EVER cut the cord immediately. Interesting.
http://www.indianpediatrics.net/feb2002/feb-130-135.htm –> This study shows how the test group for delayed cord clamping had better outcomes for babies born to mothers with low iron.
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/117/4/1235 –> This study shows how delayed cord clamping improved the health of these premature baby boys in comparison to the test group that did immediate cord clamping.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/1e3rxxpbfn4e2va7/ –> Another study done with 2 test groups. This one showed results from delaying the cord clamping by 20+ seconds vs. 40+ seconds and even in just 20 seconds different the results showed dramatic healthier outcomes for the babies in the 40+ second test group.
http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/lateClamping.html –> 5 Good Reasons to Delay Cord Clamping.
http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/cordIssues.html –> This entire site is excellent! A good resource for learning about Rh- too. Great site!!!!
A Few More:
As always, Please let me a comment!!!! I love hearing what everyone thinks, or getting asked questions.
~ Julie ~
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