The New York Times recently reported on a new study that found benefits to delaying the clamping and severing of the umbilical cord in newborns. Infants whose umbilical cords were not clamped until at least 1 minute after birth had higher hemoglobin levels and improved iron stores compared to those with early cord clamping, without any increased risk to the mother. Typically, the umbilical cord is clamped less than 1 minute after birth to minimize the risk of maternal hemorrhaging.
In the article, Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, Medical Director of the Perinatal Clinics at Columbia University Medical Center, warns that delayed clamping could increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage in Caesarean deliveries.
“We don’t have enough information on the effects of delayed cord clamping for someone undergoing a Caesarean delivery in terms of postpartum hemorrhage,” said Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, medical director of the perinatal clinic at Columbia University. “Waiting 30 or 60 seconds in a vaginal delivery in a low-risk patient is probably something we could do and wouldn’t have maternal consequences, but in a caesarean delivery, you’re cutting into a pregnant uterus that has a huge amount of blood.” In some scenarios, “there’s an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage.”