One of the many benefits of delivering your baby at Evanston Regional Hospital is the option to considering Delayed Cord Clamping (DCC). Unless your physician believes there is a medical reason not to, the purpose of the DCC is to give newborns every opportunity to increase their blood flow and iron storage before the umbilical cord is clamped.*
What is Delayed Cord Clamping?
Delayed cord clamping is exactly as it sounds. It is a prolongation of the clamping of the umbilical cord typically between 25 seconds and five minutes after birth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), with newly born or pre-term babies, the cord should not be clamped for at least one minute after birth. When your bundle of joy comes into this world, our doctors’ goal is to place your baby in your arms, encouraging skin to skin contact, with the cord still attached allowing your baby to receive the multiple benefits that brief delayed clamping can offer.
What are the Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping?**
The benefits of delayed cord clamping are that the process gives the baby the increased blood flow and iron storage from the uterus which is vital for healthy brain development. Another advantage of DCC is the decrease of iron deficiency and anemia reducing the risk of the baby suffering from the side effects caused by iron deficiency. According to an opinion published by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ in 2017:
This additional blood supplies physiologic quantities of iron, amounting to 40–50 mg/kg of body weight. This extra iron has been shown to reduce and prevent iron deficiency during the first year of life. Iron deficiency during infancy and childhood has been linked to impaired cognitive, motor, and behavioral development that may be irreversible. Iron deficiency in childhood is particularly prevalent in low-income countries but also is common in high-income countries, where rates range from 5% to 25%.
A longer duration of placental transfusion after birth also facilitates transfer of immunoglobulins and stem cells, which are essential for tissue and organ repair. The transfer of immunoglobulins and stem cells may be particularly beneficial after cellular injury, inflammation, and organ dysfunction, which are common in preterm birth. The magnitude of these benefits requires further study, but this physiologic reservoir of hematopoietic and pluripotent stem cell lines may provide therapeutic effects and benefit for the infant later in life.
How Common is Delayed Cord Clamping?
Eric C. Hansen, MD, one of the OB/GYN physicians at Uinta Medical Group specializes in women’s health, pregnancy, and birth states that delayed cord clamping has become a common practice for pre-term and term babies due to continued research expressing the ultimate benefits. “Unless there is a medical reason not to, I feel that allowing skin-to-skin contact and delaying the cord clamping makes the transition to the world less traumatic for both baby and Mom” says Dr. Hansen.
What are the Risks of Delayed Cord Clamping?
When the mother and baby are healthy, the risks of delayed cord clamping are minimal. There is not much evidence that shows risk from delayed cord clamping. According to the Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey there is no maternal or neonatal risks that have been demonstrated.
Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure or treatment.
Uinta Medical Group and Evanston Regional Hospital are independent affiliates.
Dr. Hansen is a member of the medical staff at Evanston Regional Hospital.