Focus on Umbilical Cord Clamping
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recently issued a committee opinion that supports delayed cord clamping in full term and preterm infants. According to ACOG, delayed cord clamping of at least 30 to 60 seconds after birth increases newborn hemoglobin levels and improves iron stores in the first several months of life.
Delayed cord clamping promotes a healthy neonatal cardiopulmonary transition, prevents iron deficiency at a critical time in brain development, provides the newborn with a rich supply of stem cells and helps sick neonates achieve better outcomes with little risk to mother or baby.
Studies have shown that even in high-income countries, iron deficiencies in the first year of life can reach as high as 25 percent. These deficiencies can be linked to cognitive, motor and behavioral deficiencies that may not be reversible.
This decision brings the U.S. close to international standards, with the UK Royal College of Obstetrics calling for two minutes before cord clamping and the World Health Organization prescribing one to three minutes. Up to 30 percent of a newborn’s blood volume is in the cord at the time of birth. Half of that blood is transfused into the baby in the first minute; by three minutes, more than 90 percent of the transfusion is complete.
Scientific evidence is confirming the midwifery model of care, which believes that physiological birth should proceed as nature intended, and that interventions are to be used only to solve problems. Midwives have been delaying cord clamping for centuries.
For more information about the benefits of midwifery care, visit EmbraceBirthVA.com.