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Umbilical Cord Clamping

Before your baby is born, it’s worth considering what you’d like to happen to the umbilical cord which connects the mother to the baby. 


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You may choose to have it cut straight away or you may prefer to leave it for a while - which is known as delayed cord clamping. 


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Delayed cord clamping allows the baby to receive a majority of their foetal blood back, which is rich in oxygen, stem cells and nutrients. 


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Delayed cord clamping is especially beneficial to premature babies where immediate cord clamping can deprive them of up to 50% of their intended blood volume.  


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Optimal clamping involves leaving the cord untouched until all the blood has passed back to the baby and the cord appears white and limp - hence the term ‘wait for white’. 


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Some parents choose a lotus birth where the cord remains connected to the baby and placenta, until it dries and detaches naturally. 


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You can still request delayed cord clamping if you have a C-section.  


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Optimal cord clamping is easily facilitated in a majority of births and waiting until the cord has stopped pulsating and becomes white is becoming increasingly normal practice in births where there is no medical reason to speed things up, allowing the baby to naturally to life outside the uterus.  


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In the unlikely event your baby needs help breathing at birth, it has been shown that babies who have their cord left as opposed to having it immediately clamped, have better outcomes. Many hospitals have the facilities to allow breathing support alongside the mother to avoid the need to cut the cord.   


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Delayed cord clamping can help reduce iron deficiency anaemia which in turn impacts on neurological development and learning.   


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There isn’t and never has been any evidence to support the intervention of early clamping.  


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We probably had our cords cut at birth when it was still the norm - your baby will be OK if there’s a medical reason for them to have their cord cut soon after birth, however there is evidence to show that it is advantageous for babies to receive all their blood back when it’s possible and it is recommended as best practice in the NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) guidelines. 


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When you have the cord clamped is a decision YOU can make. This is just one of the birth choices we discuss on the Hypnobirthing Course.


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