Optimal Cord Clamping Module 2
For the past 50-60 years routine practice in the UK and countries around the world has been to clamp and cut the umbilical cord immediately following birth.
For the past 50-60 years routine practice in the UK and countries around the world has been to clamp and cut the umbilical cord immediately following birth. Although a fairly recent intervention, more than two generations may have been affected by the procedure, which deprives the baby of the placental transfusion that supplies iron-rich red blood cells, additional blood volume, and millions of stem cells.
There is no evidence to support the practice of early/immediate cord clamping. Immediate cord clamping was introduced with the advent of oxytocic drugs, to reduce and prevent postpartum haemorrhage. At the time it was acknowledged that the baby would lose approximately 30 per cent of their blood volume, but no consideration was given to the effect of that could have on the newly born baby.
Guidance to recommend delaying cord clamping began to change in 2007 when the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended delayed cord clamping (WHO 2012), and it was followed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 2009, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in 2012 and the National institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2014. However, change is difficult to implement and many babies in the UK and countries around the world are still being deprived of valuable blood cells.
Learning aims and objectives
This module aims to:
- Enhance your appreciation of the adverse outcomes associated with early cord clamping and the benefits of delayed/optimal cord clamping.
- Enhance your knowledge to enable you to share research-based information with parents in order for them to make informed decisions and challenge health care professionals who choose to adopt early cord clamping practices.
- Have the knowledge to refute the myths and perceived barriers to implementing delayed/optimal cord clamping.
- Increase your confidence around implementing initial resuscitation techniques (one minute) with the cord intact.
- Enhance information-sharing with parents who request information about stem cell storage and donation.
Immediate cord clamping; early cord clamping; delayed cord clamping; optimal cord clamping
- Unit 1
Recommended further reading and resources