It used to be routine and expected that the umbilical cord would be clamped and cut immediately after delivery. Recent research has shown some benefits to delaying the procedure, so more patients are opting to wait several minutes.
- With the cord still attached your baby will continue to receive oxygen until the placenta stops pulsating.
- As blood drains from the placenta to your baby it shrinks, which means it can be delivered sooner.
- Since your baby has more blood circulating from the placenta, your baby has more blood going to their lungs which helps with respiration.
- More blood from the placenta also means a higher iron store for your baby.
- If your baby is premature there may a decreased need for a blood transfusion.
Also, you can still participate in skin to skin if you do decide to delay clamping and cutting the cord.
How long is long enough?
It typically takes the placenta about 3 to 5 minutes to stop pulsating, or stop delivering blood to your baby.
This may not always be possible if:
- Your baby needs immediate medical attention.
- The cord is tight around your baby’s neck.
- You want to participate in Cord Blood Removable and Storage.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are interested in delayed cord clamping. You may want to make it a part of your birth plan if it is still routine to cut the cord immediately at your hospital or birth center.