The benefits of delayed cord clamping are well known, and long known, yet it seems DCC (delayed cord clamping) is only just recently making it into Midwifery and Obstetric practice. As a Mama, depending on your care provider and birth location, you may need to bold, highlight, and underline this one on your birth plan/preferences, and get savvy about the supporting research.

I’m not saying you need to be ready for a fight, but be mindful that evidence-based practices can take some time to become the norm in maternity care. Ten years ago, we were taught to clamp and cut the cord immediately – it’s just what we did. When I look through the studies, I find evidence to the benefits of delayed cord clamping from further back than this, yet we’d never heard of it, so we didn’t do it. This is why I value the saying “once we know better, we can do better”.

Placenta after delivery with delayed cord clamping - white umbilical cord.
In my experience, I’ve come across care providers who are fully on board with delayed cord clamping, recognise the benefits, and practice DCC as standard care. I’ve come across care providers who are weary and unsure of it, yet happy to not immediately cut the cord because they respect the Mama’s rights and wishes, and know it is becoming a ‘trend’ for a reason (these Doctors and Midwives tend to be the ones who aren’t quite sure how to do it best – educate them!).

Then… there are the care providers who, despite the years and mountains of evidence, bury their head in the sand and refuse. But this brings on a whole other post about human rights in childbirth, and I’d need a couple of Gin & Tonics on board for that one.

Have the conversation about delayed cord clamping early in your pregnancy, let your birth preferences be clear and known, and make sure your care provider isn’t one of the latter mentioned. Did you know you can have delayed cord clamping even in caesarean birth?

Delayed cord clamping while allowing skin to skin contact with the father.

Benefits Of Optimal Delayed Cord Clamping

  • Keeps Mama and baby together
  • Improved fine motor and social abilities, especially in boys (neurodevelopmental benefits)
  • Increases baby’s blood volume by a third
  • Increased iron levels up to 6 months of age, critical for nerve pathways
  • Increased number of circulating red blood cells which carry oxygen
  • Decreases anaemia in the first year of life (linked to learning and behavioural problems)
  • Reduced rates of intraventricular haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)
  • Increased number of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells
  • Better outcomes for pre-term infants
  • Supports the transition to life outside the womb

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