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Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping: Healthy For The Baby Or Not? Benefits Revealed

Update Date: Dec 22, 2016 08:11 PM EST
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Umbilical cord cutting delay
WUHAN, CHINA - JUNE 28: (CHINA OUT) A doctors cuts the umbilical cord of a newborn of the quadruplets at Tongji Hospital June 28, 2007 in Wuhan of Hubei Province, China. The 23-year-old farmer Deng Qin delivered quadruplets by Caesarean section , three girls and one boy today after 33 weeks pregnant. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images) (Photo : China Photos/Getty Images)

Believed to reduce the risk of mothers suffering hemorrhage, early umbilical cord clamping was introduced in the 1960s and has been followed throughout the years. However, new research has surfaced that proves this practice does not benefit the baby nor the mother.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG) further suggests that doctors delay cutting the umbilical cord for up to a minute. This benefits not only term infants, but those who reach preterm as well. 

According to results of the study, doing this new practice can help boost hemoglobin, the part of the blood that contains iron. This, in effect, helps bring up the baby's levels, preventing iron deficiency.  In addition, there was no additional evidence that mothers had a higher risk of suffering from hemorrhage, Drugs.com reported. 

Other organizations have shared their inputs as well. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that clamping should be done 1 to 3 minutes after births, as stated on Medscape.

On the other hand, the Royal College of Midwives takes it further and says that since the transfusion of blood from inside the uterus to outside when the baby is born, takes longer than a minute, clamping of the umbilical cord should be done after 3 to 5 minutes of birth.  It takes about three minutes for the whole process to finish without being interrupted. 

The umbilical cord plays one of the most important roles to the babies during pregnancy. It serves as a conduit that supplies fetus with food from the placenta. 

Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping

In the light of the research, it was found out that delaying for a few minutes more may even help the child's neurodevelopment in the future, particularly in boys. 

Additionally, other potential benefits of this practice are increased total blood volume, smoother cardiopulmonary transition at birth and increased levels of stem cells. Preterm infants also tend to have better blood pressure after birth and fewer risks of a life-threatening bowel injury. 

More researchers found no statistical significance for concerns such as polycythemia and jaundice.

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