Hello everybody, today I am going to talk about, when is the right time to cut the umbilical cord. Let us understand what umbilical cord is, imagine this as whole uterus that is the womb and this is the placenta, which is the attachment between the baby and the mother’s womb and this connection to the baby, that’s the belly button is called umbilical cord. As you all are aware, it’s very important to supply all the nutrients via the blood to the baby for the growth and development and survival. Normally, as soon as the baby is born, this cord is clamped and then cut and then the baby is given to the mother in case of normal deliveries or given to the paediatrician for further examination in case of caesarean sections. But this practice is only for the past few decades, before that the natural phenomenon was, when the baby is born, the placenta and the cord are still connected. There will be quite a lot of blood which belongs to the baby remaining in the placenta and the umbilical cord. So that keeps pumping out to the baby and the pulsation starts anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes or so and then the placenta gets separated from the womb. If this process doesn’t happen, the blood which remains in the placenta will not be delivered to the baby. But, there were many mothers who unfortunately lost their lives because of excessive bleeding from the womb after the delivery. To prevent this doctors have quickly clamped the umbilical cord, handed over the baby and then looked after the care of the mother to prevent the complications from bleeding. During this process, it is being noticed that clamping of the cord early will deplete the baby the essential blood which is required by the baby. Several studies in the past decade have shown clearly the benefits of delaying this cord clamping. By delaying, we are allowing the important blood components to flow through the umbilical cord to the baby. This will improve the haemoglobin that is the new-borns will be less anaemic. This will improve the iron stores, which typically will help the new-borns for the brain development as well and also even in the long run it is being noticed that the neurological development would be better. More so in the preterm infants, there is less chances of intraventricular bleeding in the brain. However, 2 important complications by delaying cord clamping should be remembered. This is, when excessive blood comes in the thickening of the blood can lead to a condition called polycythaemia also, there can be increased incidents of jaundice that is the yellow colour of the skin, which might need treatment with phototherapy. But, several recognized bodies like world health organization, American college of obstetrics and gynaecology, resuscitation council for the new-borns have recommended that the cord should not be clamped immediately after the birth and at least one minute delay should be done to allow the blood transfusion from the placenta to the new-born. Hence, we recommend you to discuss with your obstetrician prior to the delivery, whether this delay of cord clamping could be done to help the new born.
Team Ovum Hospitals