optimal cord clamping

what's the rush?
your baby has been sustained by your placenta within your womb for 9 months, it grew with your baby from the time of implantation to provide all of his or her needs. the placenta performs the role of the lungs, kidneys, gut and liver for your baby, whilst circulating their blood flow through the umbilical cord.

during fetal life your baby's organs can only handle a small amount of blood flow, so the majority of their blood is circulating within the placenta at any one time, including at the time of birth.

evidence shows that immediate cord clamping can deprive the fetus of up to 214g of cord blood, equating to approximately 30% of their intended blood volume (Farrer 2010).

waiting to clamp the cord will allow the fetal blood to transfer back to your baby, this is called the placental transfusion, and it is a vital part of the birth process. 
during the placental transfusion your baby will be flooded with red blood cells, stem cells, immune cells and blood volume & oxygen levels will be optimised for your baby.

optimal cord clamping sounds very formal and slightly scary, but it simply means requesting your midwife or caregiver allows the cord to stop pulsating of its own volition, and only then the cord can be clamped and cut.

this pause is a wonderful moment to just drink your baby in. skin to skin contact at this time will give a rush of oxytocin for you and your baby, and help your body to birth the placenta.

the royal college of midwives and the world health organisation recognise the benefits of optimal or delayed cord clamping, so having a discussion with your midwife or writing this into your birth preferences will just ensure that your wishes are heard and actioned at your birth.

thank you to the lovely @sadiewildphotography
for allowing me to share this beautiful image 💛

Emma Randall-Milne