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If you are approaching your due date and are working on your birth plan, a question that might have caught your attention is: Would like to delay the clamping of your baby’s umbilical cord after birth? But wait . . . why would someone want to do that? Over the past several decades, majority of babies have had their umbilical cords clamped immediately after birth. (The reason for this was it was thought to help reduce the risk of maternal hemorrhage.) Why would we now do the opposite and delay the clamping of the cord?
First of all, if you’re wondering what delayed cord clamping is it’s when the umbilical cord is cut 1-3 minutes after the birth of baby, according to the World Health Organization—a practice they recommend for all births. The reasons why more parents are choosing to do delayed cord clamping are:
- it has been proven to have neurodevelopmental benefits
- it decreases the risk of anemia–because it allows more blood to move from the placenta into the newborn giving them more iron and hemoglobins
- it helps with a smoother cardiopulmonary transition, and more.
It’s no wonder more families and even doctors are making this a standard practice after birth.
But what if you have decided that you want to bank your baby’s cord blood? You may be concerned that there won’t be enough blood for your storage collection. Are you now supposed to choose between the two and not have the benefits of delayed cord clamping if you decide to move forward with bank the cord blood? Absolutely not. A lot of families automatically assume that they can either do one or the other, but you can actually do both!
If you’ve been looking into these, I’m sure you’ve heard from other people that you can really only choose one of the options. But as I said, that is not true. This really only applies to families that are planning to donate their cord blood since they have a minimum size requirement for storage of cord blood donations. The amount they need for a donation is typically more than what private banks require for storage. If you are choosing to privately bank your baby’s cord blood you can indeed reap the benefits of both options! Here’s why:
- There is approximately 200 milliliters (mL) of blood in the placenta and umbilical cord. A minimum of 50 mL is needed for cord blood storage.
There you have it! You will be just fine delaying the cord clamping for 1-3 minutes and then collect the cord blood that you need for private banking. However, I do not recommend waiting much longer after 3 minutes.
As I stated before, if you delay the cord clamping between 1-3 minutes there should be no problem collecting the 50 ML of cord blood for storage. That 1-3 minute time frame transfers about 80-100 mL of blood into the baby leaving your doctor enough cord blood for the collection for private banking. It’s great to know that parents can choose both options since there are fantastic benefits to both choices.
Cheers to educated decisions and healthy babies!