Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping Debate InconclusiveDelayed umbilical cord clamping debate whether the clamping of the umbilical cord to be delayed or immediate, would remain eternal as long as the human mankind will survive in this universe. The debate is best left to the medical experts, midwives, the doctors, pediatricians and the expecting mothers. Photo Credit – Dave Herholz / Flickr

Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping Debate Inconclusive

Well, the moot point of debate is that whether the umbilical cord should be clamped immediately after a child birth or whether the clamping should be delayed between 60 to maximum of 180 seconds.

  • The supporters of delayed umbilical cord clamping believe that there are more benefits to the child’s health.
  • Before we go ahead to know more about the merits of delayed umbilical cord clamping, a word of caution is to be understood.
  • There could be a slight risk for the child or the mother or even both developing jaundice.

However from the University of Adelaide, Dr Philippa Middleton of Australian Research Center for Health of women and babies, adds that delayed cord clamping benefits could outweigh the slight risk of developing jaundice which can be treated by Photo therapy.

  • The jaundice can be nullified with  precaution and essential care.
  • This is agreed by the supporters, medical professionals and doctors who are advocating delayed umbilical cord clamping.


Delayed Cord Clamping in the words of Mark Sloan –  Benefits of delayed umbilical cord clamping as stated by Mark Sloan – noted pediatrician and Fellow at American Academy of Pediatrics for the last 25 years and more  quotes.

  • That this delay helps a good neonatal cardiopulmonary transition, and
  • is beneficial for the brain development of the child by preventing iron deficiency at the critical time.
  • The delayed umbilical cord clamping also gives the newborn with a rich supply of stem cells plus helps sick neonates achieve better outcomes.
  • And there is apparently no risk to mother or child.

Habits Persisting with Early Cord Clamping – When comes to early cord clamping, David J R Hutchon FRCOG, a former president of the North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society says.

  • That it was a habit to persist with early cord clamping and believed to be an intervention wherein the clamping is done within 10 seconds after the birth of the child, thinking this would prevent post partum haemorrhage.
  • He added that the practitioners thought that early cord clamping would be beneficial and
  • would assist the baby in transition from placenta to pulmonary respiration.

Bradycardia Effects with early or delayed cord clamping – When we compare early and delayed cord clamping, then the observation is that bradycardia was seen only in cases of early cord clamping and not in delayed cord clamping.

Early cord clamping is also being nowadays avoided because of the need for resuscitation by the form of using ventilation on a remote resuscitaire.

Midwives View – Cord Cutting, Placenta and Gravity – Let’s take the view of Midwives also, who are of the opinion that the babies can be put on the chest of the mother without cutting the cord.

  • That the child need not be placed below the level of placenta until the cord is cut.
  • And that the gravity does not stop the blood to the baby even if raised to the breast of the mother.

Contrary view to Midwives Practices – However, contrary to opinion of the Midwives, a study conducted more than 30 years ago, conclude that if the child is immediately raised to the breast of the mother.

  • that gravity do cause the blood to flow back to placenta, this creates difficultly to the child.
  • And that the child should not be raised to the chest of the mother until the cord is cut,
  • till such time the child must be placed below the level of placenta.

Delayed Cord Clamping along with Skin-to-Skin Contact – We have Dr. Sarah Buckley of Australia, author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, who explains that as soon as the child is born the levels of oxytocin, endorphins, harmones of love and pleasure between mother and babies are high.

  • Hence immediate skin-to-skin contact will augment the above mentioned harmones, endorphins and oxytocins.
  • This is good for the child.
  • Thus the delayed cord clamping along with immediate skin-to -skin contact ensures the process of bonding, breastfeeding, placental release and
  • finally reduce post-partum hemorrhage and depression.

Summary – Whatever is debated above is always open ended, some are conclusive and others are non-conclusive. However, there are more people who are universally accepting benefits of delayed cord clamping, and that the expecting mothers and patients are demanding for delayed umbilical cord clamping.

  • The expecting parents are discussing the DCC benefits with their care takers, doctors, medical professionals and the maternity hospital and clinics.
  • One thing is certain that delayed cord clamping is favored in comparison to early cord clamping.
  • The majority of the population is showing more interest in delayed cord clamping because of its perceived benefits.

Even WHO recommend delayed umbilical cord clamping of 1 to 3 minutes for all births but also precautions to initiate simultaneous essential new born care.

Certain Benefits of Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping Listed below:

  • Healthier blood and iron levels in babies
  • Higher birth weight
  • Neonatal benefits
  • Improved transitional circulation
  • Better establishment of red blood cell volume
  • Decreased need for blood transfusion.
  • Possibility for 50% reduction in intraventricular hemorrhage
  • Higher hemoglobin levels 24 to 48 hours after birth
  • Less likely to be iron deficient three to six months after birth

Doubts and Objections – Delayed Cord Clamping –

  • Could lead to neonatal hyperviscocity causing kidney damage and strokes
  • Can’t have both – the benefits of DCC as well as immediate skin-to-skin contact.
  • Placing a newborn on his / her mother’s abdomen will reduce the flow of blood from placenta to baby.
  • What if the baby needs resuscitation?
  • Could lead to high levels of neonatal jaundice
  • New born could lose significant blood volume back into the placenta.
  • May have severe postpartum hemorrhage

Note – The above mentioned benefits and shortcoming about delayed cord clamping may be taken into consideration.

  • Though there are benefits.
  • There are also many objections, doubts and unanswered questions.
  • The above article is NOT written by an expert and need not be taken as advice.
  • Please consult your doctors for knowing more about delayed cord clamping.