DELAYED CORD CLAMPING
Dr. Aruna Ashok
What is cord clamping?
A baby and mother’s first ever bonding starts with umbilical cord. After being in the uterus for nine or ten months, we introduce the baby to the world by cutting the bond between mother and child, which is known as umbilical cord clamping. Other than separating mother and child, cord clamping plays a major role in child’s life.
Delayed cord clamping
Delayed cord clamping is nothing but delaying the cutting of umbilical cord from placenta to foetus.
Studies show that it does not alter post-partum haemorrhage in mother. It even benefits infants. Once the baby is born, most doctors snip the umbilical cord within 15 seconds. But, delaying the cord cutting has so many benefits.
Benefits of delayed cord clamping
1. A Preterm baby may have so many complications like anaemia, interventricular haemorrhage etc., To avoid the post-natal risk of such babies delayed cord clamping will be done by the obstetrician.
2. To increase the blood circulation and to boost the nutrition of baby, doctors delay cord clamping for transfer of 80ml to 100ml blood to the baby.
3. This can also prevent pre-mature babies from necrotising enterocolitis, a serious gastrointestinal problem that mostly affects premature babies.
4. This can prevent new-borns from iron deficiency by increasing iron and haemoglobin levels.
5. Studies state that delaying cord clamping will help the child get white blood cells to fight infection.
6. Delayed umbilical cord clamping also has some major benefits like improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, lower incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular haemorrhage.
How it is usually done in India and other countries?
In delayed cord clamping, the most common protocol which is following in India and other countries is delaying the clamping for one or two minutes. Some major countries like India, United Kingdom, USA are following the same protocol. In ancient times, this was done by the people more often and they have delayed the clamping for more than 5 minutes. For babies who require positive pressure ventilation soon after birth, cord clamping is done within 10 to 20 second and resuscitation is carried on. For babies who do not require positive pressure ventilation after birth, delayed cord clamping is advisable.
Is it okay to delay it?
Even though it is more beneficial to delay cord clamping, it is not preferable to perform it in all cases. When a baby is suffering from breathing issues or if there is excessive bleeding after delivery, doctors will immediately cut the cord to avoid risk factors. One of the highest risk of delaying cord clamping is, babies have a greater chance of getting jaundice. So it is always advisable to discuss all the benefits and detriments with your doctor and be mindful of the fact that it completely depends upon the condition of the baby and decision of your obstetrician at the time of birth.