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Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping (good…bad… or indifferent)

When a family becomes pregnant, there are numerous decisions which must be made. To breastfeed, or bottle-feed? Cloth diapers or Huggies? Daycare or family? Crib or bassinet? The list goes on. . . When choosing to preserve cord blood, many times a parent may question whether or not to cut the umbilical cord immediately or […]

When a family becomes pregnant, there are numerous decisions which must be made. To breastfeed, or bottle-feed? Cloth diapers or Huggies? Daycare or family? Crib or bassinet? The list goes on. . .

When choosing to preserve cord blood, many times a parent may question whether or not to cut the umbilical cord immediately or delay the clamping. Many believe that not delaying the cord clamping can cause anemia and harm the baby’s health. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, (ACOG) “ a delay in umbilical cord clamping may jeopardize timely resuscitation efforts if needed, especially in preterm infants.” The ACOG has also reported that “Another concern has been raised that delay in umbilical cord clamping increases the potential for excessive placental transfusion, which can lead to neonatal polycythemia, especially in the presence of risk factors for fetal polycythemia, such as maternal diabetes, severe intrauterine growth restriction, and high altitude. (polycythemia-an abnormally increased concentration of hemoglobin in the blood, through either reduction of plasma volume or increase in red cell numbers. It may be a primary disease of unknown cause, or a secondary condition linked to respiratory or circulatory disorder or cancer.)

The entire science of delayed cord clamping is still under investigation.

According to Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood, “a prolonged delay will allow the blood in the cord to clot…” (Parents, 2015)

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The ACOG also recognizes that some studies show no increased chance of postpartum hemorrhage. According to Cochrane, “clamping is one part of the third stages of labor (the time from birth of the baby until delivery of the placenta) and the timing can vary according to clinical policy and practice. Although early cord clamping has been thought to reduce the risk of bleeding after birth (postpartum haemorrhage), this review of 15 randomised trials involving a total of 3911 women and infant pairs showed no significant difference in postpartum haemorrhage rates when early and late cord clamping (generally between one and three minutes) were compared.”  Often times, parents go back and forth between whether or not they’d like to store their baby’s cord blood, and tissue, or whether they’d like to delay the cord clamping, or even both. As we would love for both to work successfully, normally parents who choose the delayed cord clamping option have much smaller samples, which means their samples are insufficient. There is no guarantee that if needed, the cord blood sample would be the appropriate size to successfully treat a disease.

Sources

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/29/health/cut-the-cord/

http://www.cochrane.org/CD004074/PREG_effect-of-timing-of-umbilical-cord-clamping-of-term-infants-on-mother-and-baby-outcomes

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/299803.php

http://parentsguidecordblood.org/faqs/what-is-delayed-cord-clamping

 

THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.  It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.

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Closeup of a couple embracing the mother’s pregnant belly.