Unfamiliar with delayed cord clamping or thinking of having it done for yourself? Read what experts have to say before you push through.
You’ve been waiting for 9 whole months for this day — your little one is finally here! As you lie exhausted but unbelievably happy, your partner quickly snips your newborn’s umbilical cord, and if you want a delayed clamping.
It’s a moment you both will never forget. Indeed, to many parents, the cutting of the umbilical cord brings with it so many emotions.
Cutting a baby’s umbilical cord seconds after birth is routinely practiced by doctors around the world as it is believed to lower the risk of severe bleeding in the mother.
But what if you found out that clamping your baby’s umbilical cord immediately may not be the best thing?
Delayed clamping of umbilical cord
This is where the topic of delayed cord clamping comes in.
Some medical experts say that waiting for at least 2 minutes before clamping and cutting a newborn’s umbilical cord has a host of benefits for the baby.
To bring you more information on this topic, we interviewed Angelyn Seet, an experienced childbirth educator who is also the Director of ParentLink in Singapore.
Ms. Seet shares her expert opinion on delayed clamping with us in this article.
Image from Shutterstock
Q: What is delayed cord clamping?
A: Delayed cord clamping usually refers to waiting for the umbilical cord to cease pulsation before clamping and cutting.
Q: What are the benefits of delayed cord clamping?
A: Your baby will receive all the blood, stem cells, and oxygen contained in the cord blood and placenta, which will continue flowing to your baby as cord blood for as long as the cord pulsates. This reduces the risk of anemia in the baby.
Research has also shown that delayed cord clamping is linked to higher birth weight and is safe, as it does not have any impact on the rate of deaths in newborns.
A study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews confirms that delaying cord clamping by at least a minute gives more time for blood to move from the placenta.
It is also reported to help boost iron stores and hemoglobin levels in newborns, without increasing the risks to mothers.
Q: Are there any risks and disadvantages (to baby or mum) with delayed cord clamping?
A: Some parents are concerned with an increased risk for jaundice but this is a myth.
Studies have shown that there is no relation between jaundice and the time of clamping the cord. In these studies, the bilirubin levels (excessive bilirubin levels are linked with jaundice) were within normal range, regardless of the time the cord was clamped.
Additionally, the baby may need resuscitation. And there could be a birth abnormality or complication that needs immediate medical attention. This will lead to deciding on an immediate cutting and clamping of the umbilical cord.
If there is an evident separation of the placenta from the uterus or was not functioning well, to begin with, there is not really any reason to delay cord clamping.
Why does delayed cord clamping cause jaundice?
Furthermore, there are other probable downsides or disadvantages of delayed cord clamping. The extra red blood cells that your baby receives from delayed cord clamping broke down in the circulation. In addition, bilirubin is released.
This high level of bilirubin in your baby is not good for them. Higher levels of bilirubin have a possibility to cause jaundice, which is a result of delaying cord clamp.
Also, jaundice in a newborn can be treated with phototherapy (special light treatment), and it may rarely lead to serious conditions. And still, if this occurs, your baby will need more evaluation and treatment, which a newborn baby typically doesn’t need.
More importantly, always consult your doctor and pediatrician about the other possibilities of jaundice.
Q: Can I still go through with cord blood banking if I choose delayed clamping?
A: Usually, this is not very feasible as it is dependent on the medical personnel harvesting the cord blood. Sometimes, there won’t be enough stem cells in the cord blood [due to] delayed cord clamping.
I have seen a few couples decide to give half the cord blood to the cord bank and half to the baby. However, there is no accurate way to do this. Most times, the doctor might delay clamping for 1-2 minutes before clamping and cutting the cord.
However, we have seen that some cords are able to pulsate for long periods, like 10 minutes after birth. But this is different for every baby and every mother.
Image from Shutterstock
Q: Should I opt for it? For how long will the umbilical cord stay attached to my baby before cutting it?
A: With delayed cord clamping, usually the doctors will cut the cord about 5 minutes after birth, as the cord has usually ceased pulsation by that time.
Q: What is better for the baby — banking cord blood or delayed cord clamping — and why?
A: This is a decision for the parents. We present the pros and cons of both options and let them decide.
There is no right way to do this. This is their baby and we encourage all our couples to decide what they feel is best. This is for their baby and for them, too.
Alternatively, there was 1 couple so far who preferred to bank the umbilical cord itself as it has been shown to contain a great number of stem cells as well.
So, that might be an option for parents who want the best of both worlds — less anemia for the baby (from delayed cord clamping and cutting) and stem cell banking.
There are also couples who choose to donate to the public cord blood bank. Many lives are continuously in a program of saving using the public bank of stem cells in Singapore.
Image from Shutterstock
Delayed cord clamping and autism
Current rates of autism disorders are approximately3-4 times higher than 30 years ago, according to bmj.com‘s review. This significant increase is partly accounted for by changes in the approach factors. But the influence of new environmental exposures cannot be discounted.
The correlation between autism and birth complications is credited to other studies. From a reviewed research, they report a great increase in the risk of autism in cesarean deliveries, deliveries with fetus distress, and five-minute APGAR scores below seven. These birth situations correlate with immediate cord clamping, the opposite of delayed cord clamping.
Article originally published on theAsianparent.com
Additional information by Nathanielle Torre
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