This week, my heart was set aflutter with the news that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released updated guidelines about delayed cord clamping. (You can read it here: http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Delayed-Umbilical-Cord-Clamping-After-Birth)
This is a huge boon for those of us who want to delay cord clamping with our babies, because it means that we have a beneficial resource to give our caregivers who may not be up to date or who may not be amenable to delaying cutting the baby’s umbilical cord.
Why delay cord clamping or cutting in a newborn?
Research has consistently shown massive benefits to babies when the cord is not immediately clamped and cut at birth. Increased iron stores, increased red blood cell volumes and it allows for several minutes of a sort of life line,where baby is still getting oxygen rich blood and nutrients from the placenta!
Does this mean my partner can’t cut the cord?
Absolutely not! It simply means waiting a few minutes after birth, until the cord has stopped pulsating, and then it can be clamped and cut as if it were immediately after the birth. You, your partner or your care provider can still cut the cord as planned.
What if the baby requires resuscitation?
As I stated earlier, delaying cord clamping provides continued oxygen exchange between the placenta and the baby, which gives medical professionals an advantage in bringing baby around. Also, depending on cord length, resuscitation procedures can be performed on the bed next to mom using a resuscitation board. A delay of 30 seconds can be highly beneficial. If need be, however, the cord can quickly be clamped, cut and the baby moved to a warming table to have further procedures done.
Can this cause problems for me?
With the research that has come in, there has been no risk associated with delaying cord clamping on the mother. If there is an increased risk of hemorrhage for the mother, a care provider needs to balance the risk of hemorrhage with the benefits of delaying cord clamping.
In short, there are many benefits to baby when delaying cord clamping and cutting and minimal, if any, risks to the mother. You can ask that your baby’s cord is left alone after birth for a set amount of time, until it stops pulsating, or to leave it be altogether. I will write more about this last option in the coming weeks! Having ACOG backing this option up will hopefully make it easier for new parents to request this option!