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Episode 47 Delayed Cord Clamping

birth prep Sep 01, 2022

 

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[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Brave Journey Birth channel. I'm Cara Lee Kiggins. I'm a birth doula certified birth doula and a childbirth educator and a mom of two, two school-aged kids. And today we're talking about delayed cord clamping. And the reason this is important is that not all medical care facilities are doing delayed cord clamping.

And the data shows that even a full minute of delay is going to have a benefit. A full five minutes means all the blood is going to transfer to the, to the infant. So minimum one minute you get some benefit and then it increases.

So delayed umbilical cord clamping. First off, what is umbilical cord clamping to begin with and why would we delay it?

So umbilical cord clamping is when your infant is first born, they still have their umbilical cord attached to their umbilicus, to their belly button. And that umbilical cord runs from their belly button all the ways up through your vaginal canal, into your uterus, where your placenta is still attached to your uterus.

So when your infant is first [00:01:00] born, they're born and they're not able to be disconnected from your body quite yet, until that umbilical cord is clamped or you deliver the placenta. And some people do what's called a Lotus birth, which is where they birthed the placenta with the umbilical cord still attached to the infant. And then only after that placenta has been delivered do they cut the umbilical cord.

So there's different ways of doing this.

Immediate cord clamping became the norm in about the 1960s. It was a way of you'd immediately cut the cord and bring the baby up to the mother or actually in the sixties, probably take the baby over someplace else.

But recently, as in the last few years, there's been lots of data coming out that seem to indicate not only is delaying clamping the cord a benefit, that immediate cord clamping could be considered harmful.

And the reason this is important is that not all medical care facilities are doing delayed cord clamping. Cuz it, it delays everything. The OB is just sitting there waiting, [00:02:00] doing nothing, you know, observing which in, in the hospital. That's, that's not the norm. They're usually like charting and writing things down and doing something you know, there's always this action.

So just sitting there while you hold the infant, either on your chest or skin to skin on your belly and just waiting... For five full minutes... is really counterculture to the medical cultures, particularly in a hospital context. So often they'll say they do delayed cord clamping, and then it's like 30 seconds.

And the data shows that even a full minute of delay is going to have a benefit. A full five minutes means all the blood is going to transfer to the, to the infant. So minimum one minute you get some benefit and then it increases.

So when the baby is first born, 30%, one third of their body's blood is running through the placenta at any given point.

So for a term infant at any given point 30% of their blood is in the placenta. And that is because the infant's blood is running through the placenta mingling with your blood. This is a really over simplified explanation mingling with your [00:03:00] blood, which the birthing person's blood is bringing in oxygen and nutrients.

And then the placenta brings those oxygen and nutrients to the infant's blood. And then the infant's blood runs back down from the placenta, back in, through umbilical cord, into the infant. So a term infant at any given time, 30% of their blood is still in the placenta. So if you do immediate cord clamping, the reason it could even be considered not only not beneficial, but harmful is that you, the infant is without 30% of their blood at that point.

So that's blood volume, that's oxygen, that's hemoglobin, that's red blood cells. There's all these really important things in blood volume that the infant doesn't have access to if you cut the umbilical cord right away. So delayed cord clamping means waiting at least a minute. A minute is shown to be beneficial, but five minutes is how long you would wait to make sure that all the blood has transferred into the infant, but it's just waiting. So the baby is first born. You bring the baby up to maybe your belly, the umbilical cord might be too short for the infant to come all the way up for your tear chest. [00:04:00] Maybe the, um, baby's skin to skin on your belly.

And you wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating, for the umbilical cord to turn white. It's not white right away. Cause it still got blood running through it, but wait for it to be white. So there's no more blood running through it. Or like I said, you can waiting for the placenta to be delivered, which takes a few minutes, and then cut the cord.

So what are some of the benefits? The benefits I mentioned is increased blood volume, which helps babies transition. So the babies are going from getting all of their nutrition from the umbilical cord. All of their oxygen from the umbilical cord and having their body temperature regulated by your body. They're being born and their transition is massive. Their lungs inflate for the first time. And they are filled with air and they begin getting their oxygen from their lungs rather than from their umbilical cords.

In that transition time, having more oxygenated blood available in their body, that one third of blood volume that was in the placenta, is going to benefit them.

additionally, the benefits of delayed cord clamping ex last far beyond [00:05:00] the first couple hours and all the way up until the infant is about 12 months old. So within 24 to 48 hours, data shows there's an increase in hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin, it's related to iron levels. So they move the iron around the. 24 to 48 hours after birth. If there was delayed cord clamping, there's an increase in hemoglobin levels.

At four months of age, an infant that had delayed cord clamping at birth has a higher iron level than a control group.

At eight months of age, an infant that had delayed cord clamping at birth will still have higher iron levels. At that point, 8 months after the baby was born. and 12 months, 12 months after the infant had a delayed cord clamping at birth, they'll still have higher iron levels in the data, in the research, than an infant that had immediate cord clamping.

So there's growing evidence that not only is delayed cord clamping important and beneficial, that immediate cord clamping is potentially harmful. So that's it on delayed cord clamping for this week, I post a new video every Thursday about [00:06:00] birth preparation and postpartum preparation. And, and this, this is your immediate postpartum right after that baby has been born. We'll see you next week. Check back in. Oh, like, and subscribe. I'm getting used to saying that like, like subscribe, share.

No that's for other social media anyways, I'm letting you too. Thanks for bearing with me. .

 

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