Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping: what does this mean?

The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta, which, while in utero, is attached to the mother. After birth the placenta detaches from the mother and is ejected from the body, and at this time the umbilical cord stops supplying the baby with oxygen and nutrients.


Delayed cord clamping is when the clamp and cut off the umbilical cord don’t occur immediately after birth. This allows extra time for the blood in the cord and placenta to flow to the baby. There’re some cases when the family wants to wait hours or even days. Others don´t want to cut the umbilical cord at all, letting the placenta and the umbilical cord dry out and rot and falling off on their own in time.


”Delayed umbilical cord clamping appears to be beneficial for term and preterm infants. It increases hemoglobin levels at birth and improves iron stores in the first several months of life, which may have a favorable effect on developmental outcomes.Above this, delayed umbilical cord clamping improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, and lower incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular hemorrhage.”


”A longer duration of placental transfusion after birth also facilitates transfer of immunoglobulins and stem cells, which are essential for tissue and organ repair. The transfer of immunoglobulins and stem cells may be particularly beneficial after cellular injury, inflammation, and organ dysfunction, which are common in preterm birth. The magnitude of these benefits requires further study, but this physiologic reservoir of hematopoietic and pluripotent stem cell lines may provide therapeutic effects and benefit for the infant later in life ” American College of Nurse-Midwives.


After the expulsion of the placenta, the umbilical cord tissue is no longer receiving oxygen and begins to die.


As a mother, you can request that the cord not be clamped until it finished pulsating.



It’s important to be informed of all the options to have the appropriate birth according to your energy, will and conditions.


With love,

Rute Candeias Vinagre


photo: João Paulo de Souza Oliveira

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