Waiting to cut umbilical cord better for babies?

Delaying cord clamping by three minutes could lower the number of babies with iron deficiency, suggests new study

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Postponing cord clamping by three minutes could ensure babies get maximum levels of blood and iron from the placenta, new research shows.

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Early cord cutting was removed from the World Health Organisation’s guidelines however there are no formal recommendations that delaying cord cutting could be beneficial. Many hospitals across the UK actually advocate immediate cord cutting, although it’s notable that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says in its opinion paper that this was adopted without any rigorous evaluation.

Waiting to cut the cord for three minutes can increase a newborn’s blood volume by as much as a third, a study of 400 babies in Sweden has shown. It suggests that one in 20 newborns could avoid future iron deficiency if this method was adopted. The researchers are keen to stress that after an uncomplicated pregnancy, delayed cord cutting is highly beneficial. 

Across the world around a quarter of preschool children have been found to have iron deficiency anaemia, which can harm a child’s brain development.

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