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Delay baby clamp - advice

Thursday July 11th, 2013

Babies benefit from keeping the umbilical cord connection to their mother for a few minutes after birth, experts say today.

The evidence gathered by the Cochrane Library is the latest to point towards delaying cord clamping by one to three minutes.

Researchers said this meant babies had healthier levels of blood and iron from the extended connection to the mother.

The delay is already backed by the World Health Organisation and midwife leaders - but the researchers say it is still standard practice in many countries to clamp the cord within 60 seconds of birth.

Their study shows that the delay does increase the risk of a baby becoming jaundiced.

Researcher Philippa Middleton of the Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies at the University of Adelaide, Australia, 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.

“The benefits of delayed cord clamping need to be weighed against the small additional risk of jaundice in newborns."

Louise Silverton, of the UK Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the findings.

She said: “This and other evidence is suggesting that delayed clamping of the cord is overall beneficial to the baby. It is estimated that this normally would be between one to three minutes, though more research needs to be done to determine the optimum time for this."

Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping and other strategies to influence placental transfusion at preterm birth on maternal and infant outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 11 July 2013 Issue 8. Art. No.: CD003248. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003248.pub3.

Tags: Australia | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Nursing & Midwifery | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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