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First, What is Delayed Cord Clamping?
Delayed Cord Clamping is the practice of postponing cutting a newborn’s umbilical cord instead of immediately cutting it.
It wan’t until birth was taken into the hospitals, that the practice of immediately tying and cutting the cord began. Cutting the cord streamlined the afterbirth process.
There is now more research on the benefits of Delaying cutting a baby's umbilical cord.
The human body is amazing.
When a baby is born they are only born with 60%-70% of their blood inside them.
It makes sense that they would have a lower blood volume because they were just compressed through an area where every ounce of space taken up matters.
As soon as the baby takes their first breath a message is relayed to the placenta to start pumping the remaining blood back into the baby. (If you look closely you will notice the umbilical cord pulsating as it pumps the blood.)
Once there is enough blood in the baby there is another message sent to the placenta that Baby is good and the placenta’s job is done.
The placenta then detaches itself from the uterine wall and moves forward to be birthed.
This is another huge pro to delayed cord clamping because the placenta DETACHES ITSELF. Just a note, Sometimes when there is tugging by a care provider and the placenta isn’t fully detached, it can tear the placenta which can cause hemorrhaging.
Our bodies are the perfect design and will do exactly what it needs to do. Letting the process happen is the healthiest option.
Benefits of delaying.
The umbilical cord needs to remain attached until it stops pulsating or until it goes limp, white, and flat. Usually only about 2-5 minuets. Although there are current explanations that the cord shouldn’t be cut until after the placenta is delivered.
There was a study done on rats that had their umbilical cord immediately cut after birth. As they studies the rats they found that they had lesions on their brains similar to those who had been strangled. What happens is if there isn’t enough blood in the body to breathe the body is going to do whatever it needs to do to fix it, it starts shuffling blood from other places of the body including taking it from the brain.
Many babies are born with insufficient iron stores to get them through the first year of life. This is why formula and rice cereal, for example, are fortified with iron. This is also why many pediatricians push table foods that are iron rich.
But get this, babies that received received all the blood from the placenta, are less likely to be iron deficient.
What this means is that babies are not intended to be anemic in their first year of life. And it could quite possibly be the practice of immediate cord clamping that has caused this anemia.
iron is a big deal in children. Iron helps neurological development. Basically, it helps babies to develop and get smarter, faster! Giving infants the iron they were intended to receive is important for their development.
Delayed cord clamping accounts for 40% increase in blood volume, 45% increase in hematocrit, 50% increase in total red cell blood cell volume and 50% of this change happens within the first 60 seconds.
The remainder happens over the following 2-5 minutes.
Waiting 5 minutes would be good but waiting until the placenta is delivered is ideal. Plus an added bonus is that they can’t take baby away from mom if he’s still attached to her.
Talk to your care provider about it, see what they are willing to do. And remember, it’s never too late to find a new care provider.
"Milking" the cord
Instead of waiting for the cord to finish pulsing, what the care provider did was squeeze the cord with their two fingers and slide it up towards the baby.
many care providers practice “stripping the cord” instead of DCC. I’m assuming that this is because the care providers are not ok with waiting to clamp the cord so as a compromise they are milking the cord. I’m also assuming that they think these two practices are basically the same thing.
The truth is that milking the cord is NOT the same thing as delayed cord clamping AT ALL. Stripping the cord leaves babies with too high of hematocrit levels (too much red blood cells) aka polycythemia which thickens the blood and is a problem.
Delayed cord clamping for at least 3 minutes, on the other hand, maximizes a baby’s blood volume without experiencing the high hematocrit.
I have had a few clients who’s care provider said they couldn’t have immediate skin to skin AND delayed cord clamping. because the baby is higher than the placenta, the baby’s blood will drain down back to the placenta (because of gravity).
The research shows that the baby will receive the same amount of blood if it is 40 cm below the placenta, 10 cm below the placenta or 10 cm above the placenta.
Guess what’s 10 cm above the placenta? Mom’s chest and belly. The perfect place for baby to be to receive warmth, attention, care and its blood from the placeta is on mom.
If you want to Delay the clamping of your babies umbilical cord, you will need to make sure you have a conversation about it with your care provider before you have your baby and also put it in your birth plan. It wouldn't hurt to tell the nurse at your birth (if you deliver in a hospital) that you want to delay so she can remind your care provider.
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