Everything You Need To Know About Delayed Cord Clamping

There are many terms bandied about when you’re pregnant, some are easier to figure out like, vaginal vs Casearean birth and premature labour, whereas others are a bit more mystical, such as Delayed Cord Clamping (DCC).

report by JAMA Pediatrics cited that 4 year olds who had experienced delayed cord clamping had improved fine motor and social skills over their peers. Sounds like a no brainer, right? However, it’s important to be fully informed before making any choices during pregnancy and birth so we’ve pulled all the information together for you into one blog post so you can decide if this is right for you.

What is it?

The umbilical cord is the organ that has attached your baby to the placenta throughout the pregnancy. It has been the means through which all essential life giving fluids have been transferred to your unborn child. Once he or she is born, delaying the cutting of this cord by between 1 and 3 minutes or longer allows extra blood, oxygen and stem cells to be absorbed by your child.

Why?

DCC is recommended as it allows extra blood to reach your baby. It can mean up to a third more blood is transferred to your precious new born. This in turn, means more iron is received by your baby which is vital for healthy brain development. Common side effects from lack of iron include cognitive impairment and central nervous problems.

How?

Discuss with your midwife or doctor to see if this procedure is right for you. If you decide to do DCC, your healthcare provider will wait at least 1 minute and anything up to 5 minutes, although the average is 3 minutes, before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. Make sure this is in your birth plan.

Benefits

  • lower frequency of iron deficiency anemia
  • reduced need for blood transfusion
  • higher blood volume
  • neurodevelopment may be enhanced (JAMA Pediatrics)

When is Delayed cord clamping not suitable?

Is some situations DCC is not recommended. If you are bleeding heavily after the birth you will need medical attention quickly and there may not be time to allow for DCC. Also,  if there is an issue with the placenta, such as placental abruptionplacenta praevia, vasa praevia or the cord is bleeding so the blood is not getting to the baby then DCC will not be suitable.

If your baby needs help breathing and there are no facilities to allow assistance with this next to you DCC also may not be possible.

Risks

There are some concerns that babies who undergo DCC may increase the risk of them developing jaundice requiring light treatment (phototherapy). However, most experts agree that the benefits of DCC outweigh the risks.

DCC and Caesarean sections

DCC can absolutely still be an option if you have a planned or emergency c section. Make sure your doctor or midwife is aware that you want to do this beforehand.

Premature babies

DCC has been shown to have numerous benefits for premature babies. These include:-

  • higher blood pressure
  • higher amount of red blood cells
  • fewer days on oxygen and ventilation (help with breathing)
  • fewer blood transfusions needed
  • lower risk of haemorrhage (bleeding)
  • lower risk of infection
  • lower risk of intraventricular haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)
  • lower risk of necrotising enterocolitis (damage to the intestines)
  • lower risk of anaemia

If you’re at risk of having a premature baby, discuss the options with your healthcare team.

DCC and stem cell collection

It’s perfectly possible to do both DCC and Stem cell collection. There is approximately 200 milliliters (ml) of blood in the placenta and umbilical cord.  A minimum of 60ml is needed for cord blood storage.  Delayed cord clamping is recommended to last between one and three minutes, according to the World Health Organization. This transfers about 80-100 ml of blood into the baby. This leaves an ample amount of blood left to allow for cord blood collection. However, if you’re planning to bank your child’s stem cells, it’s advisable to only delay for up to 60 seconds to achieve the optimum level of cells needed for a good sample. For more details, click here

Schedule a call with one of Cryosave’s educational consultants to discuss if Delayed Cord Clamping and stem cell banking is right for your family!

If you want more information about CryoSave, watch our video for all the details:

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