According to this article:

"If a blood pressure gauge is placed on an unclamped umbilical cord, it will pick up pressure rises as high as 60 mm Hg with each uterine contraction. This indicates that these contractions are intimately involved in the transfer of placental blood through the cord. A striking pressure rise, which persists through the first few hours of life, is also evident in the baby's vena cava and right atrium of the heart. All studies on this indicate a significantly higher systemic pressure in infants who have been clamped late (90% in the first nine hours) and conversely, a significant drop in those early clamped infants (70% of systemic by the second hour, and almost 50% of systemic by the fourth hour). [Moss, Arthur J, MD "Placental Transfusion", PEDS 40:1 ^V July 1967]"

Some interesting statistics:

1.     "The placental blood normally belongs to the infant, and his/her failure to get this blood is equivalent to submitting the newborn to a severe hemorrhage at birth. [De Marsh, QB, et al "The Effect of Depriving the Infant of its Placental Blood", JOUR AMA ^V 7 June 1941]"

2.     "Deprivation of placental blood results in a relatively large loss of iron to the infant. [De Marsh, QB, et al "The Effect of Depriving the Infant of its Placental Blood", JOUR AMA ^V 7 June 1941]"

3.     "The time of cord clamping may be involved in the pathogenesis of idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome (the earlier clamped, the more respiratory distress). [Saigat, Saroj, et al. "Placental Transfusion and Hyperbilirubinemia in the Premature" PEDS 49:3 ^V march 1972]"

4.     "Placental blood acts as a source of nourishment that protects infants against the breakdown of body protein. [De Marsh, QB, et al "The Effect of Depriving the Infant of its Placental Blood", JOUR AMA ^V 7 June 1941]"

5.     "Studies have shown that immediate cord clamping prolongs the average duration of the third stage and greatly increases maternal blood loss. [Walsh, S. Zoe "Maternal Effects of Early and Late Clamping of the Umbilical Cord" LANCET ^V 11 May 1968]"

And for the argument that delayed cord clamping will increase a babe's risk of hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice), Mothering eloquently says this:

"Among other drugs, pitocin inductions and epidurals have been conclusively linked with nonphysiological neonatal jaundice (this is not normal, breastfed jaundice). Any drug administered to mother or baby must be viewed with a "jaundiced" eye, for it is likely to compete with bilirubin sites on blood protein, causing more bilirubin to be free to contribute to jaundice.

In an all-out effort to prevent the possibility of jaundice, obstetric practitioners have reasoned against delayed cord clamping, since it increases the volume of red blood cells ^V which, in breaking down, will produce increased levels of bilirubin. True, hyperbilirubinemia may be prevented in premature and "medicated" infants by early clamping; however, in a normal delivery of a full-term, unmedicated infant, there are untold advantages to delaying cord clamping until after the placenta has delivered itself."





Am J Perinatol. 1984 Jan;1(2):165-9.

Related Articles, Links

Delayed cord clamping in cesarean section with general anesthesia.

Erkkola R, Kero P, Kanto J, Korvenranta H, Nanto V, Peltonen T.

Delay in cord clamping after vaginal delivery increases the blood volume of the newborn. Similar effects have also been observed in cesarean section births. Other effects of delayed cord clamping in cesarean section have not been investigated. In a group of nineteen healthy mothers having elective cesarean sections the cord clamping time was increased from 0 minutes to 1.5 and 3 minutes. Significantly lowered PO2 and pH and elevated plasma lactate levels were observed in infants with 3 minutes' delay when compared with the early clamping group. We conclude that, when healthy mature newborns are considered, early clamping of umbilical cord in cesarean section with general anesthesia is preferable to late clamping.

PMID: 6440574 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]



In one study of preterm infants in Louisiana, delayed cord clamping significantly reduced the requirement for blood and albumin transfusion. It also increased the initial hematocrit, red blood cell count, hemoglobin levels, and mean blood pressure (Ibrahim et al.). In another study of very premature babies delivered by c-section in Germany, cord clamping was delayed for 45 seconds. The researchers concluded that this practice "is feasible and safe in preterm infants below 33 weeks of gestation. It is possible to perform the procedure at caesarean section deliveries and it should be performed whenever possible. It reduces the need for packed red cell transfusions during the first 6 weeks of life" (Rabe et al.). Finally, in another study of babies born to anemic mothers in India, a randomized controlled trial, the risk for anemia at three months of age was almost eight times higher in the early compared to the delayed clamping group (Gupta et al.).