Waiting to cut umbilical cord may boost babies

Babies should remain attached to the umbilical cord for several minutes after birth to boost their immune system and reduce the risk of them developing anaemia, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has suggested.

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Most healthcare professionals cut the cord immediately after birth to avoid respiratory problems and to ease bonding. However, the study suggests that a two-minute delay may give newborns a health boost that carries through the early months of their lives.

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The authors of the study said, “Although this is of particular importance for developing countries in which anaemia during infancy and childhood is prevalent, it is likely to have an important impact on all newborns, regardless of birth setting.”

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Some doctors believe in clamping the umbilical cord virtually immediately to help in the delivery of the placenta and reduce other risks, but proponents of late clamping believe its benefits outweigh the risks.

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