Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping after Birth
Sometimes immediately after the birth of a child, in most cases, the umbilical cord connecting mother and infant is clamped and cut. This can take place as early as one minute (what is called immediate clamping) or as late as five minutes (what is called delayed clamping). Once the cord is clamped, it is cut painlessly by the nurse. Because the cord lacks nerve endings, the thick layers of the cord can be done away with a sharp instrument. Although clamping the cord occurs normally between one and five minutes postnatal, cutting can be delayed or omitted entirely. Usually, the cord stops pulsing between five and twenty minutes postnatal, and at that point, it is cut. However, the debate over cord clamping refers to the one to five minutes postnatal, prior to the actual cutting procedure.The practices of both delayed versus immediate clamping of the umbilical cord developed simultaneously, and before the extensive research devoted to the issue now, depended largely on the preference of the individual (or team) delivering the baby. Delayed clamping is, however, a somewhat new phenomenon, simply because infant mortality rates in the developed world have decreased through the past century and our understanding of prenatal stem cells has increased (Tolosa, Park, Eve, Klasko, Borlongan, amp. Sanberg, 2010).Hutton and Hassan (2007) examined registers of full-term newborns and contacted secondary sources to study the effect of clamping times on infants. Although according to the authors, a vast majority of newborns have their umbilical cord severed immediately after birth, they found that delaying clamping of umbilical cords in full-term newborns for at least two minutes postnatal is advantageous to the infant.