I don't think I knew about this first time round, it was all such a blur & looking back I still can't really remember. I was so nervous about labour & birth, I had a birth plan, we left that at home on the printer, we'd attended a class on what to expect in labour but from that I'd mainly taken away pain relief options!

It was a friend who told me about delayed cord clamping, she was due her first while I was expecting #2 and she was much more well read than I, "did I have that first time round?" "was I aware of the benefits?" tbh I felt a bit guilty that I hadn't but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Anyway with the girls things were much more relaxed, I knew what to expect, I knew I could do it, I was more confident in voicing my thoughts & preferences throughout labour.

Healthcare professionals have long debated the timing of delayed cord clamping, according to an article I read delayed cord clamping was the mainstay of practice until about the 1950s when it was changed to immediate clamping on the basis of a series of blood volume studies combined with the introduction of active management of the third stage of labor. However, in recent years, several systematic reviews advise that delayed cord clamping should be used in all births for at least 30 to 60 seconds.

NICE guidance recommends that cord clamping is delayed in all maternity units for at least 1-5 minutes in all babies unless the fetal heart is less than 60 bpm and not getting faster, at this point, for practical reasons, the baby may need to be taken away to get breathing support.

NICE (2014) Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies Clinical guideline [CG190], National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, London, England

After your baby has been born the umbilical cord, which links your placenta to the baby, continues to pulsate and transfer blood and oxygen and stem cells to your baby until baby has transitioned to life outside the uterus and becomes stable.

By delaying clamping the cord, the blood from the placenta can continue to be transferred to the baby even after they are born. This means that the baby could receive up to 214g of cord blood, which is about 30% more blood than they would have without it.

MyExpert Midwife summarise the benefits of delayed cord clamping beautifully so I've included them here, the link to the full article is at the bottom of the page:

  • Your baby’s iron stores will be improved at 4-6 months of age and this protects your baby against becoming anaemic.

  • If your baby does not breathe straight away after the birth, being attached by the unclamped umbilical cord will continue to supply oxygen-rich blood and nutrients before your baby takes their first breath. Remember that very few babies need any form of resuscitation at birth, with around 95% of babies breathing spontaneously once they are born.

  • If your baby does need any help to breathe after birth, it is possible for your midwife or doctor to perform the necessary procedures whilst your baby is still attached by their umbilical cord.

  • Premature babies may benefit even more than full term babies, as receiving a higher blood volume can protect their organs and brains.

  • Recent research suggests that the immediate clamping of the umbilical cord can affect long-term learning and development in children.

This information was gathered from a number of sources including:

MyExpert Midwife -

Tommys -

National Library of Medicine - -

The World Health Organisation (WHO)

NICE (2014) Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies Clinical guideline [CG190], National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, London, England

You can access full articles & further information via the links but as with any third party link, if you choose to follow it please know you're leaving the loving arms of Bumpkins Baby and accessing sites we have no control over or responsibility for.

#delayedcordclamping #myexpertmidwife #givingbirth #labour #thirdstageoflabour

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