In the rush of daily lives, everything happens quickly, so it comes as no surprise that the standard practice is to clamp the umbilical cord immediately after a baby is born. This guideline was first published but a few years ago in 2007 after a consensus that clamping the cord right away was the best option, but the latest research on the field suggests otherwise.
Studies now suggest that delayed cord clamping is better for the overall health of a newborn. Waiting as little as three minutes can make a world of difference. Of course you are eager to hold your little one for the very first time, but a short delay in your gratification will prove to be greatly beneficial in the long run.
Why delayed cord clamping?
As you know, the umbilical cord is your baby’s lifeline. When in the womb, the placenta takes care of respiration since baby’s lungs are not functioning yet. The umbilical cord delivers oxygen and nutrients from you to the baby, while two other arteries run back out to deliver deoxygenated blood and waste back to you to expel.
As baby’s lungs are not working yet, blood flow to these organs is minimum, so most of the blood actually stays in the placenta. This changes the moment your little one is born, and how much of that blood gets transferred to baby depends on how long the umbilical cord remains intact. If the cord is clamped before it stopped pulsing, there is a very good change that the baby will not receive enough blood or oxygen while he is figuring out how to work his new set of lungs. Delayed cord clamping will prevent just that, and ensures that baby will receive enough blood to help combat iron deficiencies, even later in life.