Posts in Birth
What's The Deal With Delayed Cord Clamping?

Recently a new official statement was issued by the AAP that "Umbilical cord clamping should be delayed in term and preterm infants due to several health benefits, according the the AAP-endorsed guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)." This new recommendation replaces the ACOG's prior committee opinion published in December 2012. 

What is delayed cord clamping?

In short, delayed cord clamping is the practice of clamping (and subsequently cutting) the umbilical cord after it has ceased to pulse or after the placenta has been delivered after childbirth.

What are the benefits of this process? According to the new committee's report:

  • In term infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping increases hemoglobin levels at birth and improves iron stores in the first several months of life, which may have a favorable effect on developmental outcomes." 
  • Delayed umbilical cord clamping is associated with significant neonatal benefits in preterm infants, including improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, and lower incidence of adverse health issues such as intraventricular hemorrhage.
  • Given the benefits to most newborns and concordant with other professional organizations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends a delay in umbilical cord clamping in vigorous term and preterm infants for at least 30–60 seconds after birth.

In terms of potential or previously cited risks, the committee adds this:

  • There is a small increase in the incidence of jaundice that requires phototherapy in term infants undergoing delayed umbilical cord clamping. Consequently, obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers adopting delayed umbilical cord clamping in term infants should ensure that mechanisms are in place to monitor and treat neonatal jaundice.
  • Delayed umbilical cord clamping does not increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

You can find the ACOG's complete report here and the AAP's condensed version here

What's this mean to you?

As you prepare for your baby's arrival, this new recommendation is relevant as it will likely impact the conversation you have with your midwife or other medical practitioner. Note that per the ACOG, the ability to provide delayed umbilical cord clamping may vary among institutions and settings, and the decisions in those circumstances are best made by the team caring for the mother and infant. Because of the possibility for variations, if delayed cord clamping is something that is important to you, it's recommended that you speak with your care provider to determine which options are available to you. As always, we offer birth plan consultations both virtually and in person, and would love to help you sort through your birth preferences.

xo, Chelsea

My 5 Favorite Labor Essentials

It's almost go time! 

Over the past few weeks, you've probably feeling signs of your upcoming labor with plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions, the urge to nest, discomfort in your lower back, and perhaps more. As you put together the final preparations for Baby Day, you're looking for the top items to have on hand as you labor. Here's a quick list of my five favorite labor essentials. 

1. COMFORTABLE HAIR ACCESSORIES

Childbirth is hard work, y'all. The last thing that you want to have to worry about is your hair falling into your face. If you're including hydrotherapy in your birth plan, then with even more reason you'll want to account for these. (Otherwise, prepare for hot, sticky hair on the nape of your neck - no thanks.) Find a hairstyle that is comfortable for you, and plan to have extra accessories on hand. Hair bands, ties, clips, and even satin scarves are all awesome ideas! Check out our board for labor hairstyles on Pinterest here!

2. YOUR FAVORITE COOL BEVERAGES

Laboring exhausts a lot of calories! Having lots of chilled, full-calorie beverages on hand helps you to feel refreshed and refueled. Homemade labor-ade is a common favorite for many laboring women, as is coconut water, sports drinks, smoothies, and other juices. Get fancy with it, and purchase that specialty fresh pressed bit of something that you love from your favorite local vendor! #delish

3. A DANCE-ABLE BIRTH PLAYLIST

It's time to get funky, funky, funky... That's right! Create a playlist of your favorite beats or songs to have on repeat during labor. Staying mobile and rocking your hips is a wonderful way to help your baby lower into the birth canal efficiently. This also is an excellent way to cope with the physical sensations of labor. Be sure that you've got your charger, headphones or a wireless speaker, and batteries on hand if you need them. Pro Tip: If you forget your speaker at home, toss your phone into a bowl or deep cup for sound. 

4. MOOD LIGHTING

This isn't about romanticizing about the birthing process, though it may help with that as well. Low lighting is known to increase the production of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone is also responsible for the continued progression of labor. Increase your calm, relax with mood lighting, and help your labor along in the process. Flameless LED candles are the perfect addition for you to pack in your hospital bag while string lighting is a great option for while you labor at home!

5. AN INSPIRING REMINDER

Keep your head in the game with a special memento your birth space. For some women, printing affirmations and posting them around their birth space is just what they need. For others, having a baby book, your ultrasound picture, or perhaps Baby's first outfit in clear view makes laboring feel more intentional. Choose something that isn't too cumbersome, but that also inspires an emotional connection for you with your baby. 

Happy laboring, insha'Allah! 

xo, Chelsea