Can leaving the mother’s end of the cord draining after birth reduce blood loss and encourage her body to expel the placenta after the birth of her baby?

It is thought that leaving the cord unclamped, free to drain, on the mother’s side reduces the pressure at the site where the placenta attaches to womb.  This makes the womb contracting to remove the placenta after the birth of the baby more efficient.
This may:

Reduce the length of time for the placenta to detach and deliver
Encourage the placenta to detach more completely
Reduce the amount of blood lost during this stage

It is important to remember that any blood draining from the cord is not the mother’s; it has come from the placenta and would have been discarded regardless.  It might be preferable to use a container for the cord to drain into, just to minimise the mess.

Currently the standard practice after the baby is born is to clamp both sides of the cord and cut between.  The mother’s end is then left clamped whilst everyone awaits the placenta.  A Cochrane Review in 2009 (one of the highest levels of research that compares other research papers to draw conclusions,) looking at leaving the mother’s end free to drain, found there were not enough studies to make any definite conclusions as to the benefits, however there were no apparent disadvantages and the time taken for the placenta to deliver was shortened.

Soltani, H., Dickinson, F., & Symonds, I. (2009). Placental cord drainage after spontaneous vaginal delivery as part of the management of the third stage of labour (review). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4) . John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Written for Cornwall Birth Circle: http://www.facebook.com/cornwallbirthcircle

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2 comments on “Can leaving the mother’s end of the cord draining after birth reduce blood loss and encourage her body to expel the placenta after the birth of her baby?

  1. Does the blood draining from the maternal side actually belong to the baby though? If the blood is not the mother’s, but would be ‘discarded with the placenta’, then surely it is the blood that the baby ought to receive if delayed cord clamping is practiced? I would be genuinely interested in your reply. Thanks

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