Midwives to be advised delayed cord clamping benefits babies

Royal College of Midwives plans new guidelines for newborns

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Current advice to midwives is to clamp a baby’s umbilical cord within 30 seconds of birth, to reduce the risk of passing on synthetic hormones used in labour and to reduce the risk of jaundice.

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The Royal College of Midwives is now set to issue new guidelines that will recommend delaying clamping of the chord to between three and five minutes afer birth after research has flagged up potential health benefits of delayed cord clamping.

According to an American study from 2007, a two-minute delay halves the chance of a baby having anaemia. Similarly, a Swedish study, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that the chances of a baby having an iron deficiency dropped by 5 percent following delayed cord clamping.

Complications that have previously been associated with delayed cord clamping, such as jaundice, were not recorded.

Mervi Jokinen, a RCM spokesman, said the review would recommend midwives clamped and cut the cord “within three to five minutes” of birth. This would follow an update from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that changed its guidance to recommend the cord “should not be clamped earlier than necessary, based on a clinical assessment of the situation”.

The guidance is still being discussed, but is due to be published in November, the Telegraph reports.

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Find our more about cord clamping and cord blood collection here

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