Delayed Cord Clamping, with Dr. Mark Sloan

Waiting a few minutes to clamp a newborn’s umbilical cord can have significant health benefits, and yet the debate of early vs. delayed cord clamping rages on. What’s the big deal? Dr. Mark Sloan explains and shares what the evidence says.


To listen here, click the play button on the player above, or click the button below to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Play.
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What we talked about:

  • How much time are we talking about?
  • Who started this immediate cord clamping practice, anyway?
  • What does Darwin’s grandfather have to say on the matter?
  • The placenta is your baby’s fetal lung!
  • How would you handle having a third of your blood volume outside of your body?!
  • The benefits of delayed cord clamping (a.k.a. physiological cord clamping)
  • Delayed cord clamping can help your baby learn to breathe
  • The brain needs iron to grow and develop; breastmilk has very little iron
  • Newborn iron deficiency is a thing
  • Delayed cord clamping and cord-blood banking
  • Positive and negative consequences of immediate cord clamping vs. delayed cord clamping
  • What are the consequences to the mother?
  • Do you have to keep the baby below the placenta?
  • What about “milking” the cord?
  • New developments in resuscitation with an intact cord
  • New and important research against immediate cord clamping


Links for more on delayed cord clamping:

An image of how the cord visually changes as it stops pulsating after 5 minutes (or more):


Related Birthful episodes:


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Photo by Jean Porter. Courtesy of Dr. Mark Sloan.

About Dr. Mark Sloan

Mark Sloan, M.D. has been a pediatrician for more than 30 years. Trained at the University of Michigan, he practiced with Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento and Santa Rosa, California, from 1982 to 2014. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and teaches pediatrics and reflective writing at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency. In 2015, Mark earned a Masters in Public Health degree, with a concentration in maternal-child health, from the University of Minnesota.

Mark is also a writer—his book, Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth, was praised by The Washington Post, The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the New England Journal of Medicine, and The International Journal of Childbirth Education, among many other publications, and was a 2010 Northern California Book Awards finalist. Translated into Japanese as Baby Science, Birth Day was named a “Top 10 Science Book of 2010” by the Japan Economic Times.

Mark lives in Santa Rosa California with Elisabeth Chicoine (pronounced “Schick-WAHN”), his wife of 30+ years. They have two grown children.

You can follow what Mark is up to at, check out his blog at or send him an email at MarkPSloan[at]gmail[dot]com.


Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

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