Statement on Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping

Issued: May 7, 2021

Obstetric organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have recommended a delay of 30-60 seconds between delivery and umbilical cord clamping in both premature and healthy, full-term babies. It has recently been shown that delayed clamping may have a beneficial effect in the full-term newborn, although there is a small increased risk of severe hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice) when cord clamping is delayed.

Delayed clamping reduces the volume of cord blood available for collection, but that does not necessarily make the volume unsuitable for storage or donation. Clamping after 30-60 seconds has been shown to reduce the volume of collected cord blood. Importantly, if the baby’s cord blood is being collected and banked for a known use – such as a directed donation for treatment of a family member where the largest achievable cord blood collection is preferred -- delayed clamping may not be advised.

As always, expectant parents should discuss options with their obstetrics provider. Mothers who volunteer to donate their baby’s cord blood to a public bank should be informed about collection with or without delayed clamping. Ultimately, it is her choice whether her obstetrical provider delays clamping after delivery of her baby. 

The recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and supporting data are posted on the ACOG website.