New Recommendations Say All Babies Need Delayed Cord Clamping
If you're preparing to have a baby soon, there's one important thing you need to add to your to-do list: Make sure your doctor or delivery provider will practice delayed cord clamping.
You may have heard of this practice before. If not, you should know that the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) recently updated their recommendations about cord clamping. Cord clamping is when your baby's umbilical cord is clamped to cut off the blood circulation between your placenta and your baby. Although your baby's circulation switches over at birth, the umbilical cord continues to pulse until the cord is clamped or the blood flow stops on its own.
Doctors used to worry that the cord pulsing blood into the baby would cause unnecessary blood supply. Unnecessary blood supply could cause complications such as jaundice. Jaundice can happen when bilirubin builds up in the baby's system after excess red blood cells break down. This means that some full-term babies have an increased risk of jaundice with delayed cord clamping.
Under the new guidelines, the ACOG is recommending that all babies have cord clamping with a delay of at least between 30 and 60 seconds. The ACOG researched delayed cord clamping because it's been an issue of interest to birth providers. The old recommendations said that premature infants (babies born before 37 weeks) and preterm infants should have delayed cord clamping. The delay is associated with helping preemies be healthier.
For example, preemies have lower rates of complications such as brain bleeds and anemia with delayed cord clamping. The benefits for preemies led the ACOG to recommend the practice for all babies born before 37 weeks. But the organization wanted more research to prove that this practice could help full-term babies.
Now, the ACOG has their proof. The new guidelines explain that delayed cord clamping boosts all babies' health. It increases babies' hemoglobin and iron stores through the first year of life. “Iron deficiency has been linked to impaired cognitive, motor and behavioral development,” the ACOG said in their official press release.
In other words, the benefits of delayed cord clamping outweigh any potential risks of jaundice for all babies. So, be sure to talk to your health care provider about delayed cord clamping.
Do you plan to practice delayed cord clamping with your baby?