A study of premature infants suggests that delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord can reduce the need for blood transfusion in babies who are born too soon. A delay of only 30 seconds to two minutes was sufficient to provide significant benefit.

This news led me to search out a much more exhaustive discussion of umbilical cord issues, covering everything from conditions where immediate separation is necessary, to cord blood collection, to the "lotus birth," in which the placenta stays attached until the cord falls off the baby. Parents, midwives, and a few doctors speak out on issues that I had no idea were issues when I gave birth a quarter of a century ago. The concensus of this group is that delayed cord cutting is beneficial for full term babies (and their mothers) as well. Most of the debate seems to be between cutting the cord after the placenta stops pulsating, and waiting until the placenta is delivered.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 at 7:35 pm | Edit
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I didn't know this at the time, but ... when my daughter was born I delayed about a minute to clamp the cord because I had to go search for a shoelace to tie it off with. Yet another benefit of unplanned home birth! :)

Posted by Peter Venable on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 9:18 am
It's a rather sad commentary for our communication while we were housemates, though, that Peter didn't know it. The cord thing was something we wondered at when we heard the birth story.

Posted by Joyful on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 1:18 pm
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