What is delayed cord clamping and what length of time is best?

After the baby is born, there should be a pause before clamping the cord (as opposed to immediately clamping it). This is called delayed cord clamping or optimal cord clamping. The baby is placed on your chest/belly depending on the length of the cord and as long as the baby appears healthy, your doctor will wait at least 60 seconds OR until the baby gets their first good cry before clamping and cutting the cord and detaching the baby from the placenta. Studies have shown that at least 60 seconds is optimal, but longer than that is okay as well. The baby can get an additional 80 mL of blood during this time. The extra blood has been shown to improve hemoglobin and iron stores within the first year of life, and improve cognitive, motor, and behavioral development. After this, the doctor will clamp the cord and hand someone of your choosing the scissors to cut the cord. Then, while you pay attention to your new baby, the placenta will be delivered with gentle traction and you will no longer be pregnant!

Delayed cord clamping is the standard of care and has been for several years.

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