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Delayed/ Deferred/ Optimal cord clamping...What does it all mean?

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

There are many terms being used nowadays but the one I like the most is... 'Wait for white'.

I feel that at least with this term, you do what it says on the ‘can’! We wait for the cord to go white, before clamping & cutting it. With the other terms, there is a time limit, whether it be 45 seconds or 60 seconds or 90 seconds, being put on how long the cord is left alone before other one continues with their other ‘duties’.

What are the benefits you ask?

  • Higher birth weight

  • Increased blood volume (by 32%!)

  • Increase oxygen levels

  • Increased nutrients

  • Increased red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells

  • Increased iron stores

  • Decreased risk of anaemia (by 50%!)

What are the risks?

- None!

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that for healthy women at term the cord is not clamped in the first 60 seconds and that it should be clamped before five minutes, although women should be supported if they wish this to be delayed further.

Unfortunately this is not being implemented in the hospitals. In my experience, it depends on the midwife that is caring for you and what he/she is ‘comfortable’ doing. In my experience, a cord can take a lot more than 5 minute to stop pulsating..

Amanda Burleigh is a UK based midwife and has been campaigning for YEARS to stop immediate cord clamping. She has an amazing website ( There are SO many resources of information on the website. I would highly recommend hopping over there and having a browse!

Penny Simkin is another great person to look into. She has made a great video about cord clamping…a must watch! ( )

Many years ago, I found a TED Talk by Dr. Alan Greene and now recommend it to everyone in my classes ( )

Inform Yourself

Please inform yourself about what your hospital/midwife/birth centre practices with regards to ‘waiting for white’. If this is what you want make your wishes known and put it in your birth preferences.

Happy birthing!

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