Baby's First Year · Pregnancy

What is delayed umbilical cord clamping?

Newborn open his eyes for the first time while parent is holding him skin to skin on her chest

A common question from expectant parents in our prenatal program is “when is the best time to cut/clamp baby’s umbilical cord?” During pregnancy, the umbilical cord helps move blood, oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby. Shortly after baby is born, their umbilical cord is clamped.

Research shows that clamping the umbilical cord at different times has an effect on baby’s health.

Early cord clamping:

  • is when the umbilical cord is clamped within 60 seconds after birth.
  • may be necessary if baby has immediate health risks that need to be addressed.

Delayed or late cord clamping:

  • is when the umbilical cord is clamped 1 to 3 minutes after birth.
  • gives time for more red blood cells and iron stores to move to the newborn baby.
  • may decrease risk for anemia.
  • may decrease risk for iron deficiency.
  • may increase risk for jaundice* (since their liver has to process more red blood cells).

*With proper monitoring, jaundice can be treated.

Discuss cord clamping options when speaking to your healthcare provider to help make an informed decision about your birth plan.

Remember – every baby and family is different. If you have plans for umbilical cord blood banking, speak to your healthcare provider about your options.

For more information to guide your birth plan, connect with a Public Health Nurse on our e-Chat or call (416) 338 – 7600.

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