We are often asked by our patients whether delayed cord clamping is something we recommend.
At the time of birth, the cord must be clamped in order for the baby to be separated from the mother.
Typically this is performed within about 10 or 15 seconds after the baby is born, but delaying clamping of the cord allows the blood to continue to flow from the placenta to the baby for a period of time.
There are some benefits for the preterm baby especially, and the American College of OB/GYN currently recommends that when safe the cord clamping be delayed at least 30 to 60 seconds after birth.
Sometimes this is not possible. Maybe the baby is in distress or is getting cold or there are other reasons why the baby needs immediate attention and cord clamping cannot be delayed.
For the term infant, the information is less clear whether there are benefits, and there are some potential risks even for the preterm infant.
The primary risk is the increased risk for jaundice, and this may require some therapies.
It’s generally a benign problem meaning it doesn’t cause significant issues short or long term for the baby but can be distressing for the parents if the baby has to receive treatment.
So currently we recommend delayed cord clamping for the preterm baby at least 30 to 60 seconds after birth, and the term infant