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What Are Some Risks of Delayed Cord Clamping?

Delayed cord clamping is the practice of doing just what it sounds like: waiting to place clamps on the umbilical cord, rather than doing it immediately after a baby is born. Exactly how long the time period is from birth to the actual clamping is not strictly defined in delayed cord clamping, but most obstetric providers agree that delayed cord clamping constitutes waiting for at least 30 to 60 seconds to clamp the cord.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends this practice for all healthy newborns. They do acknowledge some risks associated with the practice, however:

  • Increased risk of jaundice and the additional testing and phototherapy treatment that may result from it.
  • Increased risk of maternal hemorrhage during the time that is spent waiting to clamp the cord.
  • Newer reviews conclude that the above risks are very infrequent, and in most cases, the benefits of delayed cord clamping outweigh the risks.

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