Usually, after the birth of a baby, the doctor quickly clamps the umbilical cord. However, there is also the option of waiting a little while to clamp the cord.
This option of delayed cord clamping, according to the American Pregnancy Association, can help increase the volume of a baby’s blood and the amount of iron in the blood, which is helpful for brain development.
The suggested benefits by those who recommend the practice beyond an increase in iron-rich blood are that it can help to reduce anemia, help the baby to adjust more quickly to life outside the womb and improve lung function.
There are some concerns about delayed clamping and the negative effects it could have on the baby and the mother due to some findings in studies. They include higher risks for respiratory distress, a build-up of bilirubin and excess red blood cells in the baby. For the mother, the main concern is an increased risk for hemorrhage.
Despite a lot of professional push for delayed cord clamping, it does not happen in most situations. Unless you have a premature delivery, your doctor will probably not delay the process. For the most part, doctors rely on the recommendations of organizations that say there is not enough research to suggest there is a benefit in delayed clamping for otherwise healthy infants.
The World Health Organization does recommend delayed cord clamping. Its position is that doctors wait at least one minute but longer if possible. WHO also finds that clamping too soon is not a good idea unless the baby requires assistance.