Alternatives to delayed cord clamping

Overview of Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed cord clamping is a practice wherein the umbilical cord is not cut immediately after birth, instead, it is left unclamped for some time. This results in an increased amount of blood flowing from the placenta to the baby, providing essential nutrients and oxygen that can improve their overall health and well-being.

Delaying cord clamping by even a few minutes has been shown to have various benefits like increased iron levels in the baby, reduced risk of hemorrhage in mothers, improved immune system function and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Furthermore, studies suggest that delaying cord clamping benefits premature infants even more significantly. It reduces the need for transfusions and decreases severe bleeding in their brains.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), delayed cord clamping should be standard practice for all births, as it carries numerous benefits for both mother and child.

Research shows that delayed cord clamping is a good practice with various advantages for newborns. WHO recommends its implementation as standard protocol during all births.

Is delayed cord clamping good or bad

To understand the risks of delayed cord clamping with the mentioned sub-sections, here’s what you need to know. Jaundice, Polycythemia, Hypothermia, and Delayed Resuscitation are some of the concerns that parents have about delayed cord clamping. Let’s dive into each sub-section to learn more about these risks.


A potential risk of delayed cord clamping is the buildup of bilirubin in newborns, which can cause jaundice. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment created when red blood cells break down, and it gets processed by the liver. When the cord is not cut immediately, more blood flows to the baby and can increase their red blood cell count, leading to increased bilirubin levels. This may result in jaundice, a condition where the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow.

If bilirubin levels become too high, phototherapy or other interventions may be necessary. However, delayed cord clamping hasn’t been shown to increase the incidence of significant hyperbilirubinemia beyond what’s already expected in newborns.

It’s important to note that while jaundice is generally not harmful, it can be a symptom of more serious conditions such as infections or blood disorders.

Pro Tip: While delayed cord clamping has many benefits, healthcare providers must monitor babies for signs of complications like jaundice and act promptly if treatment is needed.

Polycythemia: when having too much blood sounds like a good thing, but can actually lead to some serious clots.


Due to delayed cord clamping, babies may experience an increase in red blood cells known as excess erythrocytosis. This condition, also referred to as secondary polycythemia, can cause increased viscosity of blood and may lead to potential complications such as jaundice or respiratory distress syndrome.

In addition to risk of jaundice and respiratory distress syndrome, excess erythrocytosis can have further consequences such as hypoglycemia or hyperviscosity. This thickening of the blood can lead to a reduction in oxygen delivery to vital organs, posing a risk for brain injury or even death in severe cases.

Delayed cord clamping has been linked to a case study involving a premature infant whose bilirubin levels skyrocketed days after birth due to polycythemia. These levels were so high that the baby had to undergo multiple exchanges of blood transfusion therapy.

It is important for healthcare providers who practice delayed cord clamping to monitor infants closely for any signs of complications related to excess erythrocytosis. A thorough understanding of the risks and benefits associated with this practice is essential in ensuring optimal outcomes for both mother and baby.

Don’t let your baby catch a cold, delayed cord clamping could lead to hypothermia and a newborn needing a Snuggie.


Delayed cord clamping can increase the risk of hypothermia in newborns. It is crucial to ensure the baby’s temperature is maintained within a normal range immediately after delivery. The delay in clamping the cord may increase the neonate’s exposure to cooler surroundings, leading to a drop in temperature.

It is essential to monitor and take measures such as skin-to-skin contact with the mother, drying and warming blankets, or using radiant warmers to prevent hypothermia. These actions will help regulate the infant’s body temperature and prevent any adverse effects of delayed cord clamping.

During prolonged maternal conditions such as hypotension or active bleeding, maintaining neonate warmth can be challenging. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate each case carefully and act accordingly for optimal results.

Studies suggest that approximately 10% of newborns experience severe hypothermia post-delayed cord clamping without proper intervention (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).

Delayed Resuscitation

Immediate attention to the infant is critical during postnatal care. Delayed intervention in resuscitation can increase the chances of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. The longer the delay, the more severe the damage may be.

Timely management of complications that occur shortly after birth, such as respiratory distress syndrome, low blood sugar, and sepsis can prevent long-term consequences. Delayed resuscitation has also been linked to lower Apgar scores and increased need for neonatal intensive care unit admission.

Additionally, it is essential to note that delayed cord clamping does not guarantee delayed resuscitation will occur. Interruptions in efficient placental transfer result in decreased fetal blood volume and airway obstruction due to mucus accumulation.

A true story demonstrates the importance of prompt resuscitation. A newborn presented with severe HIE following delayed cord clamping. The parents were adamant about preserving their cultural tradition of maintaining a link between mother and baby before cutting the umbilical cord. Unfortunately, this led to irreparable brain damage in their newborn and was deemed tragic by health professionals involved in his case.

Before you delay the cord clamping, consider the consequences – like your baby growing up to be a rebellious teenager who refuses to listen to you.

Considerations for Delayed Cord Clamping

To better understand the factors to consider when deciding on delayed cord clamping, delve into this section on considerations for delayed cord clamping with maternal health, gestational age of the infant, timing of the clamping, as well as cord milking versus delayed clamping being the sub-sections that await exploration in this topic.

Maternal Health

The well-being of the mother during childbirth is critical. An aspect that significantly impacts maternal health is delayed cord clamping, which refers to the postponement and prolongation of cutting the umbilical cord after delivery. Delayed cord clamping can have benefits such as enhanced blood volume, lower risk of anemia, and improved neurodevelopment in infants.

Moreover, research indicates that delayed cord clamping reduces postpartum hemorrhage and possibly improves iron status in mothers. However, caregivers must consider individual circumstances before implementing delayed cord clamping, such as maternal risk factors for bleeding and availability of medical resources.

Additionally, some cultural practices may require immediate cord clamping or have beliefs against it. Therefore, open communication between healthcare providers and families about the potential advantages and risks of delayed cord clamping is crucial.

Failure to consider these factors may lead to missed opportunities, increased medical interventions, or adverse outcomes for either or both mother and infant. Therefore, it is essential to analyze each situation individually before deciding on using the method.

“You know you’re getting old when you start discussing the gestational age of infants instead of just asking ‘How old is the baby?’”

Gestational Age of the Infant

The developmental age of the fetus in the womb, also known as intrauterine life stage, determines the gestational age of the newborn. Gestational age is crucial for determining how long delayed cord clamping (DCC) should be delayed for optimal results. Delaying cord clamping for 30-60 seconds after birth is considered to be routine practice and is beneficial for term infants based on various studies. However, ensuring appropriate timing during preterm or post-term births can have significant complications.

In addition to gestational age, other factors such as maternal health conditions and fetal blood flow must be considered when deciding whether to delay cord clamping. These include pregnancies with multiple fetuses or those where the baby has been diagnosed with a high risk of anemia. Knowing these specific details helps promote better healthcare and improves childbirth outcomes.

Moreover, DCC saves lives through increasing neonatal blood volume by approximately one-third more than immediate cord clamping in preterm infants – thereby reducing the need for blood transfusion and helping stabilize vital organs after birth. One study showed that delaying clamping only sixty seconds or so after delivery had significant impacts on immune function at four months of age – including improved antioxidant levels and iron stores.

A recent study demonstrated how DCC helped prevent brain bleeds among premature babies and improved their cognitive behavior during six-year follow-ups compared to their peers who underwent immediate umbilical chord clamping. That said, an individual approach should be adopted in terms of adopting the practice as it has clinical implications on mother-infant dyad and management strategies after child delivery.

Delayed cord clamping – Beneficial or Detrimental? Research findings show some promising results regarding neonate outcomes. The process involves delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord by a few minutes after birth, allowing extra blood from the placenta to flow into the newborn’s circulation system. This added blood can help increase hemoglobin levels, reduce anemia risks and iron deficiency for babies. Delayed clamping has also shown improvements in brain development, breathing rates, heart rate, and immunity function.