Cutting the umbilical cord immediately after birth was the medical standard for most of the 20th century. But more recently - despite what we still see in the movies - medical advice has shifted towards delayed cord clamping (DCC), which means that we normally wait so that all the blood, oxygen, and stem cells can transfer to baby before cutting the cord.
Did you know that the umbilical cord can hold up to 30% of baby’s total blood? This leads to a whole load of benefits of DCC, including increased iron levels and stem cells, which help with baby’s growth and immune system.
There’s no hard and fast rule about how long you should wait before clamping. The NICE guidance is that we should delay for at least one to five minutes as long as baby is otherwise healthy, but many believe we should wait as long as it takes before the umbilical has given all it can give and turns white.
Can you still do delayed cord clamping if you’re having the injection to deliver your placenta? YES! The injection takes at least five to 10 minutes to deliver the placenta, which means that baby can be happily attached to the umbilical cord during this time.
Can you still do delayed cord clamping if you're having a C-section? ALSO YES! Whether it’s a planned or emergency C-section, your hospital will recognise the benefits of delayed cord clamping. Just make sure you talk to your midwife about it and include it in your birth preferences!