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10 Things You Need to Know About Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping

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1. The umbilical cord attaches the placenta and carries blood back and forth to the baby. It can grow to be 60 cm long. That's the length of three pencils!


2. When a baby is born, there is usually a symbolic cutting of the umbilical cord after it is clamped by the health care team. Once cut, dried and healed, the end that attached to the baby becomes the belly button.


3. Delayed cord clamping (DCC) occurs when the health care team waits at least one minute after a healthy baby is born to clamp the umbilical cord. This is completely safe for the baby. In fact, it's likely that neither the mother or newborn would notice the delay.

4. The baby is placed on the mother's chest for skin-to-skin and bonding until the umbilical cord is cut.


5. DCC allows the placenta to supply an additional 80 mL of blood to the infant in the first minute. Most infants have 75 to 80 mL of blood per kilogram of body weight - so for a 3.5 kg (7.5 lbs) baby, that is a third of it's blood supply. Wow!


6. DCC does not make your baby smarter, however the benefits of DCC include healthy brain development, a reduced risk of anemia and infection, and fewer intestinal or breathing complications.  There are no known adverse affects of DCC.

7. DCC is the general practice of most obstetricians for healthy babies at Horizon hospitals.

8. A four-person research team that included Horizon's Dr. Yu Chen and Dr. Sheri-Lee Samson were recipients of the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation's Research Team of the Month for January 2019. The team, which included Jiachen Tang and Rachel Fullarton, conducted and published research demonstrating that DCC had little impact on umbilical cord blood gas. The study was published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics in January 2019. This was a partnership between the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Horizon's Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, UNB's Faculty of Science, and the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology at Dalhousie University.



9. Obstetricians often test umbilical cord blood gas to help assess a newborn's health status and the information is used to guide care.


10. DCC is supported by the World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American College of Nurse-Midwives. Locally, this is supported by the New Brunswick Medical Society and is considered a best practice.




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