Operational Medicine Medical Education and Training

Clamp and Cut the Umbilical Cord

After delivery of the baby, the umbilical cord needs to be clamped and cut.

This short, free video demonstrates this procedure on a live patient.


Clamp and Cut the Umbilical Cord
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 Clamp and cut the umbilical cord

Clamp and Cut the Umbilical Cord
After the baby is born, leave the umbilical cord alone until the baby is dried, breathing well and starts to pink up. During this time, keep the baby more or less level with the placenta still inside the mother.

Once the baby is breathing, put two clamps on the umbilical cord, about an inch (3 cm) from the baby's abdomen. Use scissors to cut between the clamps.

During the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life, the umbilical cord will continue, for a short time, to provide oxygenated blood to the fetus. Once the baby is breathing, then blood is shunted to its lungs where it receives much better oxygenated blood than it was getting from the placenta.

While the cord remains intact, elevation of the fetus above the level of the placenta (for example, resting on the mother's abdomen) results in some pooling of newborn blood within the placenta and can make the baby somewhat anemic. Holding the baby below the level of the placenta results in pooling of placental blood within the newborn. This isn't good either, as the rapid homolysis of the fetal hemoglobin can lead to increased problems with neonatal jaundice. It is better to keep the baby more or less level with the placenta until the cord is clamped.

If the baby is not breathing well after delivery and needs resuscitation, immediately clamp and cut the cord so you can move the baby to the resuscitation area.

From OB-GYN 101: Introductory Obstetrics & Gynecology

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