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Wait -- Don't Cut the Cord!

You know the drill. Baby’s head emerges. Then the body. Doc clamps the cord, hands dad/partner the scissors. Snip! A baby is born.

But wait! A new study says baby’s would actually benefit from continued attachment to the placenta, if only for a few extra minutes.

The most recent issue of the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, summarized on MSNBC, recommends waiting until the cord stops pulsating before clamping and cutting the cord.

Cord blood contains stem cells, explain the researchers. Those stem cells can develop into a suite of other cells. Back when immediate clamping and cutting was first practiced, we didn’t know anything about stem cells.

But now, we know they’re like microscopic gold! A review of the literature shows that the cord blood reduced the risk of many illnesses, “including respiratory distress, chronic lung disease, brain hemorrhages, anemia, sepsis and eye disease.”

Delayed cord clamping was shown to be especially beneficial to “premature babies, those born malnourished or suffering from other complications.”

Through history, some argue, allowing cord blood to flow into the infant has been the case for humans and most mammals. In fact, giving birth in a squatting position — the norm throughout history until only recently — allowed gravity to boost the blood going to the newborns.

If delayed clamping is good, “lotus birthers” will tell you no clamping is even better. These people don’t bother cutting. They just wrap up the placenta with the baby and wait a couple of weeks for the whole darn thing to fall off.

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