Optimal Cord Clamping

Optimal Cord Clamping  The Best Gift
You Can Give Your Baby

There has been a lot of news coverage on ‘Delayed Cord Clamping’ recently and you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. As a midwife, umbilical cord clamping and cutting after birth is part of my role, but if you aren’t involved with birth day-to-day then the timing of clamping a baby’s umbilical cord might seem insignificant.

I prefer using the term ‘optimal’ because that is all this is, clamping the cord at the optimum time for mum and baby. Until quite recently most babies born in UK hospitals had their cords clamped and cut immediately, but it is now the recommended practice to wait at least a minute for almost EVERY baby. This means if you have a caesarean, an assisted birth or a premature birth then your baby can still benefit!

If you have an uncomplicated birth and baby is well, cord clamping should be delayed for 3-5 minutes as the evidence suggests that this is the best time for it to happen – that is unless you choose a natural/physiological delivery of your placenta (then the cord shouldn’t be cut until the placenta is delivered). Optimal cord clamping should now happen routinely in all hospitals but here are a few reasons why it should matter to you:

At the time a baby is born up to 30% of their own blood is still contained in the placenta, by delaying the cutting of the cord for just a few minutes baby receive lots of this extra blood which is rich in iron (essential for their brain development), oxygen, stem cells and immune boosting cells. This helps them gently adjust to the outside world and means you get a little pause in all the excitement to meet your newborn baby properly, it may also make the placenta smaller and easier to deliver for you.
I hope I have managed to convince you to include optimal cord clamping in your birth plan! If you want to know more use the link above or find us on Facebook – at ‘The Happy Birth Project’.

To meet midwives from the Royal Cornwall Hospital, local pregnancy and baby related businesses and raise money for your local maternity unit come along to our next fundraising event on the July 22nd at Chacewater Village Hall, 4:30-7:30pm.

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