In February we wrote a short blog about cord clamping. We thought we might explain in further detail what cord clamping is and when to cut the cord.

When you are creating your birth plan, there are so many decisions you need to make: home birth or hospital birth? Natural birth or scheduled epidural? Delayed cord clamping? We know these decisions are not easy and often times warrant hours of research and thought. To help ease some of the stress, let’s discuss the topic of delayed cord clamping.

The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta and gets the nutrition from mommy to baby. The cord itself consists of 3 blood vessels: two smaller arteries which take blood to the placenta and another one that delivers oxygenated blood to the fetus. The umbilical cord will stay attached until after your baby is earth-side and the cord is clamped. The recommended amount of time between birth and the cord being clamped is debatable.

While many hospitals and doctors do not practice delayed cord clamping, here at the Birth Center our licensed midwives believe even just a few extra seconds will provide the baby with a plethora of neonatal health benefits. Delaying the cord being clamped by any where from 60 seconds to 3 minutes, has shown to increase blood volume and promotes iron storage, which prevents iron deficiency anemia in 3-month olds. Another proven benefit is a reduction in intraventricular hemorrhage. Intraventricular hemorrhaging is when bleeding occurs in certain regions of the brain. A delayed cord clamping, according to a 2013 Cochrane review, resulted in an increased birth weight of about 100g as well as an increased hemoglobin concentration of about 1.5 g/dL.

One study, published in 2015 shows that babies, especially boys, with delayed cord clamping displayed higher fine-motor and social scores at 4-years old, meaning that delayed cord clamping may affect neurodevelopment.

When the cord has stopped delivering iron-rich blood to the baby, it will stop pulsing. The placenta has provided all that it can and it is time to clamp the cord. The umbilical cord contains no nerves so it is painless for mommy and baby to cut it.

Santa Clarita Valley Birth Center is SCV’s first free-standing birth center. We empower women to use their natural ability to birth without a dependence on arbitrary hospital policies. Through home birth and waterbirth, babies are welcomed to the world safely and naturally.

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