At birth, a baby is still attached to its mother by the umbilical cord, which is part of the placenta.23 Clamping the umbilical cord is the procedure typically used to separate the newborn baby from the placenta. For many years, it has been common practice to clamp the umbilical cord shortly after the baby is born (within 15 to 30 seconds) in order to help reduce the risk of maternal bleeding.1,23,24 Recently, however, the timing of cord clamping has been revisited.
Delayed cord clamping (at least 30 to 60 seconds after birth) allows continued blood ﬂow between the placenta, the umbilical cord, and the baby.23,25 Recent research has found that this can offer benefits to the baby. For instance, delayed cord clamping can improve iron stores in the first few months of life, possibly benefiting the baby’s later development.24 The benefits are even more pronounced in pre-term babies.26
In light of the mounting research in favor of delayed cord clamping, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends a delay in umbilical cord clamping for at least 30 to 60 seconds after birth.27 Of course, the decision of whether or not to delay cord clamping should ultimately be made by the parents after discussing all the possible pros and cons with their doctor.