Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hold On! That Blood Belongs to My Baby!

In most hospitals it is routine procedure to immediately clamp and cut the umbilical cord.  Most people won't think to question this practice and will just go with the program, but is this in your baby's best interest?  What would happen if you were to leave the cord to stop pulsing before you cut it?

Well, here are a few things that would result from delayed cord clamping:

~ Your baby would receive up to 30% more blood (which includes red and white blood cells and stem cells)

~ Your baby would receive up to 47mg more in Iron reserves (two months worth)

~ Your baby would receive more valuable stem cells

~ Your baby has a lower risk of anemia

~ If your baby is preterm, it can protect against sepsis and intraventricular hemorrhage

Graphs taken from

These are just a few of the benefits that are known. Unfortunately, despite the fact that much of the evidence coming out these days seems to support delaying clamping, it is still not common practice.  This means there isn't much research done on the long term benefits of it, but with all that is being learned and with more and more people wanting to delay clamping their baby's umbilical cord, we can only hope to see more evidence on how beneficial delaying cord clamping can be.

Check out this amazing video from author and birth expert, Penny Simkin:
Penny simkin on Delayed Cord Clamping

So, you may be wondering if delayed cord clamping is so beneficial, why isn't it routine procedure?
Well, my guess for that would be convenience.  It is quicker and easier for the medical staff.  Just like so many other "routine procedures" encountered in hospital births every day, it is done to speed the process along.  The doctors may not want to wait for the extra ten minutes it could take for the cord to stop pulsing.

There is at least one doctor who understands the importance of delayed clamping.

Here is an incredible article from an obstetrician, Dr. Nicholas Fogelson, who believes that delayed cord clamping should be standard practice.

What I recommend to all of you, make sure you specify in your birth plan that you would like to delay clamping the cord until it has finished pulsing. Discuss this with your care provider AHEAD of time and make sure they are aware of this decision.  It is way too easy to forget this in the thrill of the moment when your baby is born.  Making sure all responsible parties are aware of your plans can help ensure your wishes are met because, unfortunately, once the cord is clamped there's no going back.