Physiologic Reasons to Delay Cord Clamping

Here is a video of Dr. Nicholas Fogelson, OB-GYN, discussing the benefits of delaying cord clamping until after at least one minute. He is doing a lecture to other OB-GYNs at the USC School of Medicine in what are called “Grand Rounds”. The video is about 50 minutes long and is very interesting. He discusses research which shows infants who have had a delay of at least a minute before their umbilical cord is clamped have more iron and more blood (about 40 % more blood) than babies whose cords are clamped immediately. This increase in iron helps a baby have more iron for six months!

If you are interested in having your doctor or midwife wait before clamping your baby’s cord, give them the URL for this video. Doctors are always having to learn new things (as are doulas). Dr. Nicholas Fogelson believes that the routine cord clamping we do is like the blood-letting practice doctors used to do for patients. When we observe other mammals give birth (like cats, horses, orangutans, etc.) they do not cut the cord quickly. They lick off the amniotic fluid and bring the baby close, but are in no hurry to cut the cord. Perhaps routine cord clamping has been doing our babies out of some necessary blood they would have had normally. After all, if there is no emergency, why should we been in a hurry to clamp the cord?

Beyond the physiologic reasons, you might also have emotional reasons for delaying cord cutting. If your baby is still attached to you, they can’t take him away from you off to a warmer. They have to do Apgar scores on your belly while you gaze at your long-awaited child. Sometimes if a puff of oxygen is needed, the baby can have a puff right on your belly. Isn’t that nicer than routine separation?