What Every Parent Should Know About Cord Clamping & Cord Blood Banking
What if there were an easy, free, natural way to give your baby a better start on the first day of life? One simple step that only takes 90 seconds could:
Improve blood counts
Reduce the chance of iron deficiency (which can lead to anemia and damage to the developing brain)
Improve oxygen levels in the brain
Stabilize blood sugar levels
Improve organ growth
Reduce serious bacterial infections
The good news is - there is! A growing body of research suggests that what most health professionals call “delayed” cord clamping (what I call optimal cord clamping
) might do all of the above, and more. The idea is simple: leave the umbilical cord connected to both the baby and the placenta at least until the cord stops pulsing (usually this is an extra 90 seconds or so).
Throughout almost all of human history, in all parts of the world, and throughout the world of mammals, this has been the practice. The idea of rushing to clamp and cut the cord within 20 seconds has only been a recent idea.
At the moment of birth, perhaps 2/3 of a term baby’s blood is in the baby; 1/3 remains in the cord and placenta. For premature babies, it might be only half.
Waiting the extra seconds for “optimal” cord clamping
gives baby an extra supply of once-in-a-lifetime, rich, umbilical cord blood, which is packed with iron and an assortment of powerful stem cells. This blood is extremely special, not only because it is genetically new and unique, but also because stem cells are cells that haven’t committed themselves yet to remain a single type of cell. They are full of potential!
They can reproduce into other types of blood and immune cells. They can also reproduce into other types of cells including bone, heart, muscle, and nerve.
Stem cells are like master keys, unlocking different paths of development. Throughout your pregnancy, they have been making the marvels of development possible.
These stem cells are so valuable that parents are often offered the option of collecting them and storing them for the future. This can be a great choice. In fact, if money weren’t an issue, this would be an easy choice. (To date, over 80 diseases have been treated using cord blood stem cells!).
Whatever you decide about the cutting edge option of cord blood banking, you can also enjoy the benefits of the age-old natural process of letting the bulk of these potent stem cells plant themselves in the baby as a last gift at birth, to grow within and carry out the purposes for which they were designed. If you do, you can still choose
to store your baby’s remaining cord blood. There’s typically still ample blood left. You do NOT have to make a choice between one or the other - you just need a hospital team that’s ready and prepared to support both of your decisions.
Your baby’s cord blood is an amazing thing and cutting edge science is just beginning to appreciate and understand the true value of this gift.