Delayed Cord Clamping

There are several ways to  define delayed cord clamping.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), delayed cord clamping is cutting the cord 1-3 minutes after birth, a practice the WHO recommends for all births.  Home birth midwives practice delayed cord clamping where the umbilical cord is not clamped and cut until the cord has stopped pulsing or until after the placenta is delivered.  Delayed cord clamping is known to improve maternal and infant outcomes.

Before birth, the fetus and placenta share a blood supply separate from the mother’s. The placenta and umbilical cord provides the baby with oxygen, nutrients plus clears waste. During fetal life, the placenta performs the role of lungs, kidneys, gut and liver for the fetus. This is why a significant portion of the baby’s total blood volume is in the placenta at any given time. The blood circulating in the placenta is not ‘extra’ blood or waste it belongs to the baby.

Immediately after birth, the placenta continues to provide essential oxygen and nutrients, as the placenta pulsates, placenta transfusion, a vital part of the birth process, transfers blood back to the baby. Placental transfusion provides red blood cells, plus stem and immune cells, in addition to, blood volume. Delayed cord clamping allows time for the placental transfusion, ensuring adequate oxygen levels and blood volume in the baby.

The benefits of delayed cord clamping for the baby include a healthy blood volume for the transition to life outside the womb, plus a full count of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells. Newborns with delayed cord clamping have higher hemoglobin levels 24 to 48 post partum and less likely to be iron deficient three to six months after birth.  For the mother, delayed clamping can prevent complications with delivering the placenta and prevent postpartum hemorrhage.  Contact Raquel at http://www.BlissfulMidwifery.com.

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