Why Isn't Delayed Cord Clamping Standard Yet?

Back in 2011, a press release was printed in the BMJ that concluded that delayed cord clamping can protect babies from iron deficiency. When I delivered my first son, I breastfed and I can recall the pediatrician telling me that I may need to give iron supplements because breastfed babies were sometimes iron deficient.  I was told that babies who are given formula have the iron supplemented automatically added to the mixture, so many breastfeeding moms need to supplement. He didn’t give me any specifics, just a warning to keep that in mind.

It really bothered me for some time… trying to rectify in my mind how a baby could be deficient while breastfeeding if the mother herself practiced optimal nutrition and was in good health.  It did finally occur to me on my own that I bet babies became deficient from not letting the cord stop delivering the baby blood before cutting it. I know most of you already know this and most of you also were able to figure it out on your own as well. Logic dictates that.

However, regarding hospital policies, it’s one thing for mothers to consider these things, and it’s another thing for it to be written in a press release in the BMJ. The went so far as to say:

The researchers estimated that, for every 20 babies having delayed clamping, one case of iron deficiency would be prevented, regardless of whether the baby also had anaemia. Furthermore, delayed cord clamping was not associated with any adverse health effects. The authors conclude that delayed cord clamping “should be considered as standard care for full term deliveries after uncomplicated pregnancies.”

So, why then, do mothers delivering in a hospital setting still have to request it? The press release quoted an editorial than an author and pediatrician involved with the original study wrote. The editorial asked, ” How much more evidence is needed to convince obstetricians and midwives that it is worthwhile to wait for three minutes to allow for placental transfusion, even in developed countries?”


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  1. Pingback: How Many Times Do We Have To Learn That We Should Delay Cord Cutting?! — Everything Birth's Blog on Midwifery, Attachment Parenting, Cloth Diapers and More

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