For parents who decide to wait on cutting the umbilical cord immediately after their baby’s birth, there’s a worry that there won’t be enough blood to store for banking. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about delayed cord clamping and the connection to blood banking.
For starters, what’s delayed cord clamping?
Delayed cord blood clamping describes the process by which the umbilical cord is not cut immediately after birth, but rather continues to pump blood to the baby. While ideal timing for cord clamping depends on the baby and birth, new guidelines by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend delaying clamping by 30 to 60 seconds.
What is newborn stem cell banking?
Families that choose to cryogenically store umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells at birth could later use them for future therapeutic purposes. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood have been used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases.
What’s the upside of delayed cord clamping?
Pumping more blood to the baby after birth has been found to have a number of positive outcomes for both preterm and term infants, including better iron stores and a decreased risk of blood transfusions. While the most benefit has been found in preterm infants and countries where iron-deficiency anemia is common, delayed cord clamping has been shown to increase hemoglobin levels and improve iron stores for several months after birth for babies born on time, as well.2
What’s the takeaway?
While ACOG recommends delayed cord clamping, delayed cord clamping has been proven beneficial only in countries where newborn iron deficiency anemia is common. No scientific evidence has demonstrated benefit for babies born in the U.S., according to Natera Medical Director Russ Jelsema, MD.
Because delayed cord clamping can result in decreasing the amount of cells available for banking, we suggest that you discuss with your provider your preferences as to the length of delayed cord clamping.
1 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2017). ACOG committee opinion Number 684. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
2 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). ACOG committee opinion Number 648. Washington, DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.