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Amanda Burleigh 

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Optimal Cord Clamping

Discover here, in our informative website the benefits and reasons behind the push towards the mindset of "WaitforWhite and Optimal Cord Clamping" in new born babies.


How can it benefit our children? 

Why should it become the normal procedure in child birth?

What can you do to ensure a healthy start for your baby?

Find out here the answers to these questions and many more...

"Wait for White" describes a cord which has completed its natural physiology and is easily facilitated in the majority of births. With bedside resuscitation equipment, all babies could receive their full blood entitlement.

"Wait for White" will help alleviate the iron deficiency anaemia which affects 43% of the world's children under 5 and impacts on learning and behaviour as well as future prospects and health.

"Wait for White" will ensure all babies get their full quote of stem cells, building blocks for their future from birth until death". 

Amanda Burleigh RGN RM BSc

Co-developer of the Basics/Lifestart trolley. Midwife of the Year -Yorkshire Evening Post 2012 + British Journal of Midwifery 2015. 


What is optimal cord clamping?

  • Optimal Cord Clamping is the opposite of immediate Cord Clamping. Optimal clamping is what is optimal for each baby given their circumstances at birth.

  • Most babies have no complications at birth and the cord could be left until the cord has completed pulsation and baby has transitioned naturally to life outside the uterus.

  • For baby's that are premature or are compromised at birth, it is essential that the cord is left for 60 secs and longer if bedside resuscitaire trolleys are available. Premature and compromised babies benefit most from optimal cord clamping. 

  • Immediate/Early cord clamping is a common intervention and routine global practice which research shows deprives the baby of approximately 30% (in premature babies approximately 50%) of their intended blood volume.

  • Research shows early clamping often causes iron deficiency anaemia which in turn impacts on neurological development and learning. 

  • The World Health Organisation estimates that 43% of all children under the age of 5 are iron deficient anaemic and the biggest cause is early clamping.

  • Anaemia impacts on a child's short term and long term health. This is a huge public health concern.  Waiting for white can help alleviate anaemia in children around the world.

  • Early clamping also deprives your baby of over a million of stem cells which are the building blocks for life.

  • Immediate clamping has been performed for 50-60 years which means we are into second generation cord clamping.

  • Baby also loses 30% of their white cells which are used to fight and infection.

  • There isn't and never has been any evidence to support the intervention of early clamping and we do not know the long or short term effects of  early cord clamping on babies or whether there is any accumulative effect of this intervention on future generations.



Early/Immediate Cord Clamping is an intervention in the natural process of childbirth before physiology has been completed. Conception to birth is a miracle but the process continues after baby is born and important changes take place in the fetal to baby blood circulatory system which enable the baby to support itself after the placenta has completed its process. When this process of transition to life outside the uterus is complete the umbilical cord stops pulsating and the reduced placenta more easily separates from the uterine wall.

In the 1960's with the advent of an oxytocic drug used to shorten the third stage of labour  (after the baby is born until delivery of the placenta) immediate (premature) cord clamping became routine practice despite the knowledge that this practice deprived the baby of approximately 30% of their intended blood volume and despite no evidence to say this practice is safe. On the contrary research shows that this practice is not safe and there can be long term negative effects. 

Oxytocin is used to shorten the third stage of labour and decrease post-partum haemorrhage and this has been crucial in saving women's lives from haemorrhages but the effects of this blood loss on the fetus/baby were never considered.


  •  Adults in the UK can donate 1/8th of their blood volume.

  • Children are not allowed to donate blood.

  • Babies are allowed to lose around 30% of their blood volume in donation, storage or waste when nature intended it to be in the baby. This just does not make sense and is not supported by any evidence. 


Baby receives their full volume of blood as nature intended.

Natural transition to life outside the uterus.

• Haematocrit
• Haemoglobin
• Blood pressure
• Cerebral oxygenation
• Red blood cell flow
•Breast feeding duration

Stem Cell volume

Decreases the risk of:
•Intraventricular haemorrhage
•Necrotizing enterocolitis
•Late-onset sepsis
•Need for blood transfusions for low b/p or anaemia
•Need for mechanical ventilation

               Umbilical infections.



"Another thing very injurious to the child is the tying and​ cutting of the navel string too soon, which should always​ be left till the child has not only repeatedly breathed but​ till all pulsation in the cord ceases. Otherwise the child​ is much weaker than it ought to be, a part of the blood​ being left in the placenta which ought to have been in the child. At the same time the placenta does not so naturally​ collapse, and withdraw itself from the sides of the uterus, and​ is not therefore removed with so much safety and certainty".

Erasmus Darwin - 1796​

"Frequently the child appears to be born dead or it is feeble but before the tying of the cord, a flux of blood occurs into the cord and adjacent parts. ​

Some nurses squeeze the blood back out of the cord, into the baby’s body and at once the baby, who had previously been as if drained of blood, comes to life again". 

Aristotle - 300BC