Delayed Cord Clamping & Jaundice

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delayed Cord Clamping is a hot topic in the birth world! It is something that almost every client wants to have pretty lengthy conversations about. Per usual, when I research this for clients, I went a little overboard! I’m going to share what you need to know about one of the biggest questions about delayed cord clamping: does it cause jaundice?

Delayed Cord Clamping has been shown to increase iron stores in newborns, increase red blood cells, and it gives your placenta enough time to drain which returns 30% of your baby’s blood back to them. ACOG and The World Health Organization recognize delayed cord clamping as positive! 

I want you to have all the information so you can make whatever choice feels most aligned to you should you find yourself facing the questions of jaundice. The myth that delayed cord clamping causes jaundice is an antiquated belief and has since been strongly debunked. I wanted to give you the spectrum of research and resources for you to sift through on your own. Feel free to share these with your provider, too. I found a lot of information so here it is:

  • - Delayed cord clamping could cause "slight risk" according to this article. It also shares that it is incredibly beneficial for preterm babies and the increased Iron levels that I mentioned are supportive of developmental outcomes! 
  • "No association" between DCC and jaundice levels according to this article It’s important to note that this study had less than 500 participants. With that, it did produce strong results
  • - On the other side of the ‘delayed cord clamping causes jaundice’ argument is the delayed cord clamping "prevents neonatal jaundice" as seen in this article. The thought is that as the 30% of remaining blood in the placenta and cord return to the baby, so does the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, and other elements that prevent jaundice. 
  • Dr. Jack Newman I have been following him for 6 years (longer than I've been in birth work because I was the Lead Teacher of an infant program and most children were breastfed and/or bottle-fed breast milk. His research makes so much sense to me. He is Canadian so sometimes American Dr's may scoff at the research. It's yours to take in and just have in your toolbox once your baby gets here. He shares how the endocrine system of a newborn works. My Masters is in Human Development and Family Studies so it makes a lot of sense in that regard. I believe his work is much more nursing-parent led than many American approaches. 
  • - Infant "Intact Resuscitation" There's pretty strong research that I forgot to mention while we were on the topic of delay cord clamping and that is that there's a strong association between DCC and infants spontaneously resuscitating themselves if there are any breathing issues. This is especially important when we think about using narcotic medical pain relief. Your body is designed to resuscitate your baby's body. You can see the obvious push back in this study as doctors say they weren't able to reach for the right tools (would that be the case for anything else? That would probably be looked into, if so.) or they had poor access to the baby which I'm not sure what that means because they should be right behind/in front of you and the article didn't define that part. This push might be due to panic, or due to the doctors not truly trusting the natural process of intact resuscitation, or due to it not being widely taught in medical school! 

Know what the research says. Have discussions with your provider before birth. Put your preferences on a birth plan so all medical staff are aware. Hire a doula or assign your partner to double check whichever provider attends your birth is abiding by your wishes as long as it is safe. 

If you are looking for more resources and support in pregnancy - join us in The Birth Lounge to have an informed pregnancy and confident birth experience!

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