How long did your doctor or midwife wait until your newborn’s umbilical cord was clamped? Did he do it immediately? Did she wait a few extra minutes? Did you even notice?
According to a new study in the British Medical Journal, simply waiting a few extra minutes can make a difference in your baby’s health.
The study was performed at the Umea University in Sweden and 400 babies were tested. Some newborns had their umbilical cords clamped after at least three minutes and other babies had their cords clamped less than 10 seconds after delivery.
The babies whose umbilical clamping was delayed by only a few minutes experienced better results: at four months, they held higher iron levels. Furthermore, there were fewer cases of neonatal anemia when clamping was delayed.
This is not to be overlooked considering that about a quarter of preschool children have iron deficiency anemia worldwide. This is the most severe form of iron deficiency, which can harm a child’s brain development. Researchers believe that this simple practice of waiting a few minutes will maximize the blood and iron stores that babies get from the placenta. It can boost a newborn’s blood volume by a third.
Ola Andersson, neonatology consultant at the Hospital of Halland, in Halmstad, Sweden, thinks the practice should become standard care for all full-term deliveries after uncomplicated pregnancies.Typically in our country, umbilical cords are usually clamped between 30 seconds and a minute after birth, but researchers are pushing for change.
Dr. Patrick van Rheenen, consultant pediatrician at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, said that enough evidence exists to encourage delayed cord clamping: “The balance of maternal risks and infant benefits of delayed cord clamping now clearly favors the child. How much more evidence is needed to convince obstetricians and midwives that it is worthwhile to wait for three minutes to allow for placental transfusion, even in developed countries?”
Was your newborn’s umbilical cord clamped immediately or was it delayed a few minutes?
Check out Babble’s Newborn Umbilical Cord Care Guide!