Your baby’s umbilical cord connects his abdomen to the placenta, and its main function is to transfer nutrients and oxygen from you to your baby.
Common practice is to quickly clamp and cut the umbilical cord after birth, but studies have found that there are numerous benefits for the baby if doctors wait between 1 and 3 minutes before clipping the cord.
Here’s why you should ask your doctor to delay cord clamping:
- Your baby will have 32% more blood volume if you delay cord clamping. “Research has found that delayed cord clamping results in healthier blood and iron levels in the baby,” says registered midwife Andrea Klinkenberg. By delaying cord clamping by a couple of minutes, you give the iron-rich blood that is still in the placenta time to reach the baby.
- Your baby will have more iron, which can prevent deficiencies. This study found that by delaying cord clamping by just two minutes, it can increase your baby’s iron reserve by 27 – 47mg, equivalent to 1 – 2 months of an infant’s iron requirements.
- Your baby will have higher haemoglobin and iron levels if you delay cord clamping, reducing his risk of anaemia.
- Your little one will have a higher birth weight – this is because he’ll have his full volume of blood.
- Delayed cord clamping is associated with fewer transfusions for anaemia or low blood pressure and fewer cases of intraventricular haemorrhage than early clamping.
- You’ll have more skin-to-skin time with your little one before the doctors have to cut the cord and check him over.