There’s something stirring birth wise over in the UK.
It’s not unheard of certainly, yet neither is it considered common practice in western medicine.
Well, at least not until now.
And what is this exciting new ‘fad’ that’s causing an ever growing stir among UK midwives, you might wonder? Delayed cord clamping, that’s what.
I think that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sums it up best here, in their 2012 publication “Timing of Umbilical Cord Clamping After Birth”:
“Several systematic reviews have suggested that clamping the umbilical cord in all births should be delayed for at least 30–60 seconds, with the infant maintained at or below the level of the placenta because of the associated neonatal benefits, including increased blood volume, reduced need for blood transfusion, decreased incidence of intracranial hemorrhage in preterm infants, and lower frequency of iron deficiency anemia in term infants. Evidence exists to support delayed umbilical cord clamping in preterm infants, when feasible. The single most important clinical benefit for preterm infants is the possibility for a nearly 50% reduction in intraventricular hemorrhage.”
National Health Service (NHS) hospitals over in Britain are finding themselves under an ever increasing pressure to delay the clamping and cutting of healthy newborn’s umbilical cords, after new research has emerged potentially proving massive benefits to rethinking the timing of this practice.
Among the potential benefits identified in the study are:
- Allowing the baby to get the full iron value through the excess blood received during the delayed clamping period, something that can assist the newborns up until 6 months of age.
- Believed lowered risk of anemia due to these higher iron levels – a condition that could harm a child’s brain development.
- Allowing the baby to inherit a third of it’s blood supply, something that it’s usually denied due to ‘premature’ clamping – this is ‘extra’ blood that enters the baby from the cord and placenta.
- Improved hemoglobin levels in the infant without posing a risk to the mother.
On a personal note, the hubster and I chose to delay the clamping and cutting of the cord with our first son, using the pulsations of the umbilical cord as a guideline. This fortunately is a standard practice at our birthing center, so we didn’t find ourselves having to fight for it.
I’d advocate for this completely though. We had a great, natural experience that involved the 3 of us in immediate skin to skin bonding for several minutes, followed afterwards by the cutting of the cord.
Honestly, this felt exactly right for our little family. We definitely plan to do them same thing with our second baby, should circumstances allow!
Resources to check out:
Hospitals warned to delay cutting umbilical cords after birth – The Guardian
Delay cord clamping for baby health, say experts – BBC
Mother sings praises of delayed clamping of umbilical cord – The Guardian
Study Finds Benefits in Delaying Severing of Umbilical Cord – NY Times