The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
The research question at hand is, “Does delayed cord clamping promote a healthier newborn than immediate clamping of the cord at birth?” Personally, I’m very interested in this topic simply for two reasons; One of which I hope understand and educate my clients on the benefits of delayed cord clamping, and secondly, I have five children (first three births were at 41, 39, and 37 weeks gestation) and their cords were clamped within 15 seconds of birth. Then when I became pregnant with my fourth child, I did a lot of research on more holistic approaches to childbirth. I learned about delaying the clamping of the cord, and the many benefits of it. My fourth child I went with a midwife that was supportive of my wishes in delayed cord clamping (as well as my other natural birthing desires). My fourth child was born at 36 weeks (and my fifth baby was born at 39 weeks). And when they were born, the cord clamping was delayed until the cord stopped pulsating (apx 7-10 minutes after birth). I noticed that they were more alert as compared to my first 3. They also breastfed better, and didn’t have jaundice as bad as my first three babies.
In the article, Transition from Fetal to Neonatal Circulation: Modeling the Effect of Umbilical Cord Clamping, written February 17, 2015, explained the very complex transitioning from in utero circulation to the neonate just before birth, to the transitioning of the airway exchange after birth. It explains the benefits of delayed cord clamping, while also showing the drawbacks of immediate cord clamping. When neonates are born and cord clamping was delayed (5-10 minutes at which point the cord stops pulsating), were found to have 11.7% more total blood volume than that of neonates born to immediate cord clamping. Because of this higher blood volume in the neonates whose cord was delayed, exhibited higher blood pressures (which are better than the low blood pressures that the neonates born to immediate cord clamping (ICC) experienced). Also, proven in this article was that the lung expansion in delayed cord clamping (DCC) showed a 400% increased pulmonary blood flow which helps improve respiratory rates in neonates which decreases the need for supplemental O2. DCC can significantly improve the oxygen saturation and helps conserve arterial O2 levels if pulmonary respiration falls short. I found this fascinating and have been proven time and time again with multiple studies in various medical journals, but this medical journal concentrated on the benefits of neonatal blood circulation and total blood volume in the new baby, and the difference between ICC and DCC.
It’s important to talk to our clients not only about their birth wishes, but also their wishes for their newborn baby as well. Sometimes, we get caught up on everything birth related, that we miss out on the opportunity to educate on the immediate post partum wishes. Delayed cord clamping is a very important subject matter that some OB’s and Midwives aren’t routinely practicing. Talk to your client to about delayed cord clamping and if it is something they are interested in learning more about.