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Alternative positions for the baby immediately at birth before clamping the umbilical cord

Palethorpe RJ, Farrar D, Duley L
Published Online: 
15 February 2012

There is no reliable research to show whether lifting or lowering the baby in the time between birth and cord clamping makes a difference to the health of the baby or the mother. If the cord is not clamped immediately at birth, blood will usually continue to flow between the placenta and the baby for a few minutes. The net blood volume transferred to the baby during this time is called 'placental transfusion'. The amount of blood and how long it continues to flow may be influenced by gravity; in other words by raising or lowering the baby relative to the placenta. Placental transfusion can give the baby about a fifth of its blood volume at birth, and so this may make a difference to the health and well-being of a baby. Placental transfusion drains the blood left in the placenta, which may help the placenta separate from the womb and may reduce overall blood loss at birth for the woman. The review authors did not find any randomised trials which compare different positions for the baby between birth and cord clamping.