Being a birth photographer and now an expecting mama, I love learning anything and everything about birth! While I have known a little about delayed cord clamping, planning my own birth has made me research it even more. I quickly became so fascinated with the umbilical cord and knowing what I know now, I'm so excited to share! :)
In the image above, you can see the even after baby has been born for a bit, the umbilical cord is still pulsing and transferring blood to baby. The umbilical cord is incredible. It supplies the baby with oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood from the placenta. If we cut that cord immediately after baby is born, imagine all those final nutrients just being cut off instantly. The very life line your baby has had for the past 9 months, just cut off. When a baby is born, 1/3 of the baby's blood is in the external circulation system (cord & placenta)!
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could just allow the placenta to pump the remaining blood and nutrients into baby and then cut? YOU CAN!! Whether you have a vaginal birth or a cesarean birth, delayed cord clamping is a request you can make for your baby.
So what are the benefits of delayed cord clamping?
Delaying the clamping of the cord allows more blood to transfer from the placenta to the baby, in most cases, increasing baby's blood volume up to a third. The iron in the blood increases baby's iron storage, and iron is essential for brain development.
The extra blood at birth helps the baby transition from life in the womb, where everything was provided for them by the placenta and the mother, to life in the outside world.
Research shows that children that had delayed cord clamping (3-4 minutes) show higher scores in social skills and fine motor skills.
Delayed clamping also results in the transfer of stem cells. Stem cells play an essential role in the development of the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems. The concentration of stem cells is highest at this time than any other time in life. Immediate cord clamping leaves nearly one third of those cells in the placenta!
In this image above, you can see a limp and white cord now ready to be detached from baby. In this particular home birth, baby was able to remain attached to his cords for approximately 30 minutes! <3