The incredible photo of delayed cord clamping after birth

A stunning photo has highlighted the benefits of delayed cord clamping – and it’s an incredible photo and a rare opportunity to see a placenta in such detail.

The photo was taken by Kate Kennedy Birth Photography and was shared on Birth Without Fear’s Facebook page with the words:

“Perfect baby Elliot, born 5 weeks early and only weighing 2.09kg.

His mum had a beautiful home birth planned but it wasn’t to be.Although he needed to be born in the hospital, all her requests of an intervention free birth were met, including a physiological 3rd stage with delayed cord clamping. Hooray to mothers being respected in birth!”

Cutting the umbilical cord straight after birth has been common practice in UK hospitals for the past 60 years because doctors believed it reduced the risk of newly-delivered mothers haemorraging.

However, there is growing evidence that delaying it can be beneficial for the baby.

Immediate cord clamping reduces the flow of blood to the baby and can deprive the baby of iron. Iron deficiency in the first few months is associated with neurodevelopmental delay.”

Delayed clamping (for at least two minutes or until the cord has stopped pulsating) can also help with the blood flow from the placenta to the baby, research suggests.

As the cord pulsates it delivers “essential oxygen and nutrients to the baby and begins to deliver blood back to the baby.” (OnetoOne Midwives)

OnetoOne Midwives also reports that:

“Research has shown that when we delay cord clamping the neonate (newborn baby) will receive up to 30% more of the fetal-placental blood volume than it would have with immediate cord clamping.

When your baby is born, the cord and placenta system will contain about one third of your baby’s blood, whilst the remaining two thirds is in the baby.”

The RCM report concludes:

“In healthy [full]term babies the evidence supports deferred clamping as this appears to improve iron stores in infancy. This is in line with NICE guidance. Once delivered, the baby can be placed on the mother’s abdomen or chest with the cord intact and the timing of clamping should be recorded.”

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