Umbilical Cord Clamping
So, what is umbilical cord clamping and how is normal timing different from delayed? Normal umbilical cord clamping is defined as less than one minute after birth, and poses minimal risk to the cord blood collection. In most instances a ‘delayed’ clamping occurs a minute or more after birth. We’ve found that for parents who are looking to both delay cord clamp and maximize their cord blood collection volume, a delay of 30-60 seconds is optimal.
Again, it is important to note that the doctor’s primary job is to safely deliver the baby, and may have to alter the time of clamping appropriately. Make sure to discuss with your family and doctor on the decision of the timing of umbilical cord clamping before the birth. Your doctor or midwife will have a preferred time of clamping the cord, and there may be medical reasons or circumstances around the delivery specific to your baby to consider. The collection will occur once the cord is clamped and can take place after a vaginal or C-section birth.
The best resource for most of this information will be your doctor. Research is currently underway to help determine the risks or benefits altering normal cord clamping may have. There have been many studies with varied results. Some of the most current research suggests that a small delay in clamping may yield a slight benefit to lowering anemia in a full-term newborn. The research also shows there may be a slight increase in jaundice with delayed clamping. Thus, there are potential benefits and potential risks to be aware of. The medical community in general believes more research needs to be done before any changes to standard deliveries are made.