Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Debate Continues: Premature (Immediate) vs. Physiologic (Delayed) Cord Clamping

Last night, as I was pausing to waste a few minutes on Facebook, I came across an article that disappointed me greatly. Written by a practicing OB/GYN at Fair Oaks Women's Health in Pasadena, CA (just a few minutes from my hometown!), the article purported to show why delayed cord clamping (DCC, also known as physiologic cord clamping) is unhelpful or even harmful.

For a few seconds, I was quite taken aback. Cord clamping issues are one of my many passions in the birth world, and over the past few years I have read article after article after article showing the harmful health effects of immediate (or premature) cord clamping (which deprives a baby both of its oxygen supply and of its full blood volume), and the health benefits of physiologic/delayed cord clamping, which allows a baby to continue to receive oxygen after the birth as well as its full blood volume as it is pumped back into the baby from the placenta. Although the sacred cow of immediate cord clamping is proving a hard dinosaur to slay in hospital births, it is on its way out as more and more care providers learn of this evidence. I do not know of any licensed midwives in the entire state of Arizona (or hospital nurse-midwives, for that matter) who still practice the outdated procedure of immediate cord clamping.

As the evening progressed, more and more comments showed up on the blog post, all pointing to the deficiencies or inaccuracies contained therein. I had hoped that the number of comments would provoke a thoughtful discussion from the doctor who authored the piece, but to my disappointment, the article was taken down by this morning, so all possibility of meaningful discourse was ended.

I assume, of course, that the doctor took down the piece because he wished to do more research into the subject, rather than out of fear that his clients would read comments that reflected negatively on his position. If that is the case, and I am sure it is, I look forward to seeing a blog post in the future reflecting more accurate views on the benefits of delayed cord clamping. It is from situations like this that wonderful and positive changes can come to care provider habits, and I will look for this in the future from Fair Oaks Women's Health doctors.

In the meantime, here please see my link list to various pieces on the benefits of delayed/physiologic cord clamping (and the harmful effects of immediate cord clamping), which includes an excellent piece by Dr. Nicholas Fogelson ("Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard Practice in Obstetrics"), as well this excellent and timely piece at Science and Sensibility: "Common Objections to Delayed Cord Clamping: What's the Evidence Say?"

I look forward to hearing great things at Fair Oaks Women's Health as the doctors there use this opportunity to learn and update their practices.

Later note: The full (and excellent!) response to Dr. Jick's article may be found here at Check it out and join the conversation!

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