The Signs And Symptoms Of Delayed Cord Clamping

What Is Delayed Cord Clamping?

Delayed cord clamping: because having a blue baby is so last season! This practice delays the clamping of the umbilical cord after childbirth, ranging from a few seconds to five minutes. This allows more oxygen-rich blood to flow from the placenta to the baby.

Benefits include increased iron levels, as well as reduced risk of anemia and increased blood volume in preterm infants. However, jaundice and respiratory problems may occur if left for too long.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends at least 30-60 seconds for most newborns, without interfering with early neonatal care. In certain cases such as when the baby needs immediate medical attention or if there is a risk of excessive bleeding for the mother, delayed clamping should not be performed.

Signs And Symptoms Of Delayed Cord Clamping

To identify the signs and symptoms of delayed cord clamping with pale or bluish skin, difficulty breathing, low heart rate, low blood pressure, and decreased urine output, understand what to observe. Pale or bluish skin may indicate low oxygen levels, while difficulty breathing may suggest respiratory distress. Low heart rate, blood pressure, and decreased urine output may also reflect the infant’s delayed adjustment.

Pale Or Bluish Skin

Skin discolouration is a sign of delayed cord clamping. Babies appear blue or pale, showing low oxygen levels. This is due to cord blood containing oxygenated blood that supplies the infant until they breathe. Delaying clamping transfers more blood from the placenta to the baby, supplying oxygen and avoiding hypoxia.

No adverse effects are seen with delayed cord clamping for healthy newborns. Premature infants or those with low birth weights may experience polycythemia or jaundice. Polycythemia is due to excessive red blood cells transferred during delay, leading to fever, dehydration, or seizures in some cases. Jaundice needs special medical attention.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommends delaying clamping at least 30-60 seconds following term deliveries. The Cochrane Review found delayed clampings linked to lower rates of anemia and increased iron stores in babies at four months.

Delayed cord clamping is beneficial for both mother and infant when performed correctly by a trained healthcare provider. Though, it may increase the risk of difficulty breathing temporarily – just like when you hold your breath during a movie trailer.

Difficulty Breathing

Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping and Respiratory Distress in Infants.

When an infant undergoes delayed cord clamping, they may experience respiratory distress. This is when they have difficulty breathing or require oxygen supplementation.

Blood flow from placenta to baby’s lungs may reduce, if the delay is more than 30 seconds. This can lead to inadequate gas exchange. Symptoms include rapid heart rate, low oxygen levels and abnormal breathing.

Studies also show that delayed cord clamping can increase the risk of conditions like neonatal jaundice, polycythemia and hyperviscosity syndrome. These can further worsen respiratory distress.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) states that preterm or sick infants at birth should not undergo delayed cord clamping, as it may carry risks.

Delayed cord clamping is a life-saving measure – better to have a low heart rate than none at all!

Low Heart Rate

When the fetal heart rate stays low after birth, it could signal a potential problem that needs treating fast! This is usually linked to delayed cord clamping. Immediate medical help is essential as a low heart rate can cause complications like neonatal resuscitation or hypotension. A healthcare provider must be nearby during delivery to spot any trouble and avoid harm.

Delayed cord clamping is when the umbilical cord is kept attached to the baby for a bit before being cut off from its mum. This helps transfer blood and nutrients from the placenta to the baby’s circulatory system, making for a healthier growth.

It’s important to know that while delayed clamping has many benefits, there are cases where it may not be possible or suitable due to issues such as maternal bleeding or fetal distress.

In a case study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, a newborn with a heart rate below 100 beats per minute was found to have poor placental transfusion due to early cord clamping. The baby responded well to CPR but needed other interventions like oxygen supplementation. This shows how crucial it is for healthcare professionals to be informed about delayed cord clamping and the potential risks connected to early cord clamping when doing deliveries.

If you feel faint after delayed cord clamping, don’t worry – it’s just your blood pressure taking a pause.

Low Blood Pressure

Infants’ blood pressure may drop due to an increased blood volume trapped in the placenta during delayed cord clamping. This can lead to low blood pressure or hypotension. This is because of the redistribution of blood when placental circulation reduces and systemic circulation increases.

Hypotension can cause organ damage, respiratory distress, or seizures. Therefore, monitoring neonatal vital signs is essential for wellbeing. Check for symptoms like panting breaths, lethargy, pallor, apnea, and bradycardia related to low blood pressure. Insufficient oxygen supply can also cause hypotension. So, keep an eye on the levels of oxygen saturation in arterial blood.

Pro Tip: Pay extra attention if the newborn baby has any underlying health concerns or medical issues.

Decreased Urine Output

Delayed cord clamping can lead to reduced urine output in newborns. This is because more fluid builds up in their body, making it hard to get rid of excess water. Reduced urine output can last up to two days and might cause mild jaundice.

If not handled quickly, this could develop into acute kidney injury or renal impairment. It’s essential to keep a check on newborns’ urine output and general health after delayed cord clamping.

It’s important to remember that less urine output is just part of the normal physiological development and not an adverse effect. We should support babies during this period by monitoring their diaper changes and feeding patterns.

Though delayed cord clamping may have some disadvantages, it will give the baby a longer umbilical cord to use as a weapon against their siblings!

Complications of Delayed Cord Clamping

To understand the complications arising from delayed cord clamping in newborns with the keyword “why delayed cord clamping is bad”, you need to know the potential risks. One of the significant complications of delayed cord clamping is iron deficiency anemia, and it can also lead to hypothermia, jaundice, polycythemia, and infection.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Delayed cord clamping could lead to an essential mineral deficiency, called Anemia. Symptoms are fatigue, weakness, and strain on the cardiovascular system. Research shows infants who have delayed cord clamping are at risk for iron deficiency anemia due to lower iron stores.

Iron is key for mental development, so early anemia treatment is needed. It may affect the child’s cognitive function and academic success in the long-term. Plus, women who’ve had delayed cord clamping may suffer postpartum anemia, weakening their immune system.

If not treated, iron deficiency anemia can bring on serious health concerns like chest pain, dizziness, breathing issues, and even heart failure. Health care providers must do prenatal check-ups to monitor and manage maternal & neonatal health and prevent complications from delayed cord clamping.

One study involved a woman with severe anemia symptoms who needed blood transfusions after inducing labor. This shows the necessity for careful monitoring and prompt management of maternal-fetal health during pregnancy and delivery.


After delayed cord clamping, it is essential to keep the newborn infant’s body temperature at a healthy level. If their body heat drops below 95°F (35°C), they may suffer from hypothermia. This complication is caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, which can lead to respiratory distress, low blood sugar, inadequate feeding, and abnormal heart function.

To keep them safe, skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby should take place immediately after birth. This will regulate their breathing and heart rate. Additionally, warm blankets should be used to carefully dry the baby to prevent heat loss through evaporation.

It is important to note that hypothermia in newborns may lead to infection or brain damage. Therefore, healthcare providers must monitor a newborn’s core temperature regularly with advanced medical equipment.

Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2017 showed that premature infants who received delayed cord clamping had less hypothermia compared to those who underwent immediate cord clamping. So, don’t worry – your baby’s yellow glow is just their inner sun trying to escape!


Accumulated bilirubin in the blood sparks a liver condition, which is also known as hyperbilirubinemia. It also causes a yellowish color in the skin or eyes – known as neonatal jaundice. Delaying cord clamping increases the risk of this condition due to higher red blood cell breakdown and increased blood volume.

This results in the baby’s skin and sclera appearing yellow. Light therapy may be prescribed to reduce the bilirubin. Doctors must assess each infant’s medical history before going ahead with delayed cord clamping.

It’s worth noting that hyperbilirubinemia can result in hearing loss and cerebral palsy if it isn’t treated. Further treatments such as phototherapy may be needed if symptoms worsen.

Pro Tip: Early detection and treatment of neonatal jaundice can prevent further complications and potential permanent damage.


Neonatal polycythemia may occur if the cord is left attached for more than 60 seconds after birth. This is due to an overproduction of red blood cells. Thickening of the blood and risk of clots can lead to jaundice, respiratory distress or neurological damage.

Medical professionals must monitor hematocrit levels and perform a physical exam post-birth. If necessary, treatments include partial exchange transfusions and hydration therapy.

Polycythemia is rare with delayed cord clamping. However, medical professionals must decide on a case-by-case basis whether delaying cord clamping is appropriate.

Early detection and intervention are key to avoid adverse outcomes when polycythemia does occur. Medical professionals should be ready to initiate treatments promptly.


Clamping the umbilical cord is necessary after birth. But waiting too long can lead to infections in infants. When the cord is delayed, microorganisms can enter the infant’s bloodstream and cause infections.

Moreover, premature babies may be more prone to these infections. Research suggests hygienic delayed cord clamping can help reduce infection risks.

Additionally, practitioners should not wait too long. Too much waiting could increase the chances of infections and cause harm. Guidelines must be followed strictly for delayed cord clamping to reduce infection risks.

To stop such complications from happening, sterile techniques should be followed. This includes proper cleaning and prepping of the area, using sterile clamp methods, and even antibiotic administration. Waiting too long on cord clamping may still be risky, but not as much as having to hear the doctor’s explanation about it!

Risk Factors for Delayed Cord Clamping

To better understand why delayed cord clamping can be problematic, explore the risk factors associated with this practice. If you’ve been recommended to get delayed cord clamping or are considering it, you might want to pay attention to the factors that could impact you. In this section titled ‘Risk Factors for Delayed Cord Clamping’, we’ll discuss some of the critical factors that will help you make an informed decision. These sub-sections include ‘Preterm Birth, Multiple Births, Maternal Hypertension, Maternal Smoking, Maternal Drug Use’.

Preterm Birth

Premature Delivery, also known as preterm birth, is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation. It is one of the main causes of infant mortality worldwide. It can be divided into early preterm, late preterm, and near-term deliveries.

The risk factors for Preterm Birth are medical issues during pregnancy, like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. As well as smoking in pregnancy, a past preterm delivery or multiple pregnancies, and being underweight or overweight before becoming pregnant. Stress and inadequate prenatal care may also raise the risk.

Preterm babies may suffer from breathing problems, infections, cardiovascular issues, developmental delays, and neurological disorders.

To reduce the risk of preterm delivery, healthcare providers can provide quality prenatal care to detect any issues during pregnancy. Mothers can also not smoke during pregnancy and manage stress.

Multiple Births

Multiple births pose an extra challenge for delayed cord clamping. It can lead to additional blood loss and transfusions in the second twin.

  • These pregnancies can often lead to preterm deliveries, so immediate cord clamping may be needed.
  • Twins and triplets are more likely to have respiratory distress syndrome, making physicians extra cautious when delaying cord clamping.
  • The number of placentas matters too. Multiple placentas make delivery take longer and increase the chances of cords becoming entangled.

It’s important to remember that each child’s situation must be considered when deciding about delayed cord clamping. Maternal anemia and infection control can help improve outcomes.

Want to give your multiples the best start in life? Ask your provider about the advantages of delayed cord clamping and how it can help their future health. If you’re worried about maternal hypertension delaying cord clamping, at least you can blame your caffeine addiction instead!

Maternal Hypertension

Moms with elevated blood pressure during pregnancy may affect the timing of umbilical cord clamping. It could lead to fetal distress and neonatal asphyxia. So, healthcare providers should watch maternal blood pressure and act accordingly.

Delayed cord clamping (DCC) can help preterm infants, but sometimes it is not possible. E.g. if a mother has severe preeclampsia or eclampsia, prompt delivery and immediate cord clamping is needed. If the baby needs resuscitation or has a nuchal cord, then DCC may delay critical interventions.

However, even in hypertensive pregnancies, some obstetricians and midwives may avoid prolonged umbilical cord drainage, as it could cause PPH or excess blood volume or viscosity. To optimize neonatal outcomes, evidence-based guidelines for timing and techniques of DCC should be followed.

A mom with gestational hypertension shared her experience. She was hopeful of DCC, and the doctor waited for 30 seconds. But the baby turned blue and needed oxygen. Thankfully, he recovered. His hematocrit was lower than normal due to DCC, but no extra treatments were needed. She recommends others to ask their providers about it.

Maternal Smoking

Smoking during pregnancy can be dangerous. Studies show it can cause respiratory problems, low birth weight and birth defects. It is also believed smoke toxins can impact cord clamping.

Carbon monoxide from cigarettes binds to hemoglobin more than oxygen, which reduces oxygen transport. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, also decreasing blood flow.

Maternal smoking should be avoided. Expecting mothers should not smoke and get help quitting for better outcomes. Don’t ignore delayed cord clamping with drug use.

Maternal Drug Use

Prenatal Substance Use’s Impact on Delayed Cord Clamping

Maternal drug use is linked to delayed cord clamping (DCC) during birth. This is due to restricted blood flow and reduced oxygen levels in the placenta caused by vasoconstriction.

Certain medications used during pregnancy can also delay DCC. These include magnesium sulfate for preterm labor, and opioids like methadone and buprenorphine for opioid addiction treatment. Prescription medicine misuse should also be taken into account, as it can put a fetus’s health at risk.

A meta-analysis in The Lancet found that delayed cord clamping reduced infant anemia risk by 50%. However, the potential benefits must be weighed against the mother’s risk factors or health issues before deciding if DCC is suitable. Cutting corners on cord clamping can lead to complications. So, don’t let laziness cause someone else’s pain.

Conclusion: Importance Of Timely Cord Clamping In Avoiding Complications

Timely cord clamping is essential to avoiding postnatal problems. Delayed cord clamping (DCC) can cause issues like jaundice, anemia and hypovolemia. It should be done when the umbilical cord stops pulsating; this allows blood to flow from the placenta to the baby.

Plus, DCC gives preterm infants a better chance at neurodevelopment and improves respiratory function by increasing pulmonary blood volume. Cesarean-birth babies have a higher risk of breathing issues, so DCC is even more important.

Healthcare professionals must take into account the potential risks of premature cord clamping. This can lead to reduced iron stores in babies, which can cause developmental problems later in life. The right use of DCC will lead to healthier babies and less maternal complications.

Don’t miss out on these health benefits for your baby! Discuss timely cord clamping with your healthcare professional during prenatal care visits.


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