Benefits of Delayed Cord Cutting

When doctors delay cutting the umbilical cord of newborns from ten seconds after birth to three minutes after birth, the baby will have an increase in the amount of iron in their blood lasting through the first few months.

The benefits of better motor skill development and better social skill development seems to be greater in baby boys than baby girls.

Extra Blood

By delaying the cutting or clamping of the umbilical cord until the pulse stops in the cord, which is between one minute after birth and three minutes after birth, will allow the baby to receive three and one half more ounces of blood than when the umbilical cord is clamped within the first ten seconds. Three and one half ounces do not sound like a lot of blood, but that is the equivalent of one half a gallon of blood being given to an adult. A large amount of iron and nutrients can be carried in that tiny amount of blood.

Premature Births

The majority of pediatricians already delay the cutting, and clamping, of the umbilical cords of premature infants. The pediatricians agree that delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord of premature infants increases their survival chances because it increases the amount of blood the baby gets from mom, and that increases the iron levels in their blood, and it increases the antibodies they receive.

Not all doctors who deliver full term babies agree on the delaying of cord cutting. Doctors began to cut umbilical cords as fast as they could after birth in an attempt to reduce the amount of hemorrhaging, and blood loss the mother of the infant endured. This practice has become common, and now the majority of doctors’ clamp off the umbilical cord within the first ten seconds of life. The heartbeat in the cord remains active for a period of one to three minutes, so it might be safe to say that nature intended for the cord to remain viable for that period of time.

What this means to doctors

Health care professionals who assist in the deliveries of newborns should contemplate the benefits and the risks of cutting the umbilical cord early, or waiting for a few minutes. If the mother is a low risk for hemorrhaging, then waiting to cut the cord might improve the quality of life for the infant without posing any threat to the mother. This is especially true of little boys, since they seem to be the ones who develop the most improvement in social skills and fine motor skills when the umbilical cord cutting was delayed. Both genders gain the benefit of higher iron counts in their blood.

It can be hard to change a practice that has been taking place for many years, but doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals should consider making this small change, for the good of the babies.