Clamping cord delay to be healthier

Tags: pregnancy

Researchers have found that delaying the clamping a baby's umbilical cord could be beneficial.

It is normal practice in countries like the UK to clamp the cord within a minute of birth. However, doing it later may lead to healthier blood and iron levels in newborns.

Researchers studied information on almost 4,000 mothers and their babies. The findings have been published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Philippa Middleton, of the Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies at the University of Adelaide, said: "In light of growing evidence that delayed cord clamping increases early haemoglobin concentrations and iron stores in infants, a more liberal approach to delaying clamping of the umbilical cord in healthy babies appears to be warranted."

In wealthier nations the cord is clamped inside a minute due to a fear of jaundice. However, preventing the blood from the placenta getting to the baby before the last few pulses stop increases the risk of lower iron levels.

Ms Middleton added: "The benefits of delayed cord clamping need to be weighed against the small additional risk of jaundice in newborns. Later cord clamping to increase iron stores might be particularly beneficial in settings where severe anaemia is common."

Delaying cord clamping until one or two days after birth sees haemoglobin levels rise, while babies are less likely to be deficient in iron by the time they reach three to six months.

Copyright Press Association 2013


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