Midwives to drop 30 second cord clamp rule

Delaying cord clamping thought to benefit baby and protect against anaemia.


  • Midwives are currently advised to clamp the cord within 30 seconds of a baby’s birth.
  • New guidelines from the Royal College of Midwives will allow most babies to have their cord clamped 3 to 5 minutes after birth.
  • The new guidance, which is still being finalised, is due to be published in November.

The 30 second rule for cord clamping was due to a risk of the babies receiving too much of a synthetic hormone given to mothers to help child birth. However, the Royal College of Midwives is now preparing to change its guidance so that most babies will have the cord clamped between three and five minutes after birth.

The move comes due to a growing number of studies, which have indicated that delayed clamping tends to benefit the baby.

  • An American study of 1,700 infants, published in 2007, concluded that a two-minute delay halved the chance of anaemia.
  • A Swedish study found that delaying cord clamping for three minutes after birth reduced the chance of iron deficiency in four-month-old babies from six to one per cent, with no increase in jaundice or other complications previously linked to delayed clamping.

Mervi Jokinen, from the RCM, said the review would recommend midwives clamped and cut the cord “within three to five minutes” of birth.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) currently recommends clamping within 30 seconds, although an update is expected in 2014.

Last year the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists updated its guidance to recommend the cord “should not be clamped earlier than necessary, based on a clinical assessment of the situation”.

More on the umbilical cord:

Swedish Research shows waiting to cut cord is best for baby, 16 Nov 2011
Benefits of delayed cord clamping, Amanda Gwynne, 2011
How to write a birth plan

Photograph: grggrssmr @Flickr

Comments for 'Midwives to drop 30 second cord clamp rule'

One Response to Midwives to drop 30 second cord clamp rule

  1. About time too… I did my research before the birth of my first and came to the same conclusion. I asked our midwife to cut the cord after it stopped pulsing. It stands to reason that it’s pulsing for a reason…

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