After a baby is born, we tend to think of the umbilical cord as a sort of relic - something that served its purpose and is no longer needed.

Althought it may be true the cord has served it’s main purpose, it has one last job to do that is very important! When the baby is born, the umbilical cord is still holding about 1/3 of the baby’s blood and the cord is oftentimes cut before the rest can make its way to the baby. 

Early cord clamping was introduced in the early 1960’s because it was believed to reduce the amount of postpartum hemorrhages. Recent research proves that cutting the cord early does not reduce postpartum hemmorages, but it’s still practiced in most hospitals (and sometimes even at home.) 

The definition of true Delayed Cord Clamping (DCC) is waiting to cut the cord until after it has stopped pulsing and has turned white. As long as the cord is pulsing, the blood isn’t done being transferred! Some take 10 minutes, some take closer to an hour. 

5 main benefits to practicing DCC:

  • Neurological benefits

Studies show that babies who received their other 1/3 of blood has higher social skills and fine motor skills four years later.

  •  Increased blood volume and ideal iron stores 
  • Increased level of stem cells.

Stem cells play an essential role in immune system, respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous system function!

  • Decreases risk of anemia.

Natural transfusion of blood via delayed cord clamping delivers an incredible amount of iron – one study found that waiting two minutes increased iron stores by 27-47 mg!

  • Better outcomes for premature babies

Babies that are born early and have delayed cord clamping are shown to have better blood pressure in the early days after birth, which means fewer drugs, fewer blood transfusions, and have less abnormal bleeding. 

Remember to know what you want, advocate for yourself, or have someone present who will voice your decisions for you.