Jul 22, 2013 10:06 AM by Ryan Haarer

Study shows waiting to cut umbilical cord benefits newborns

TUCSON- Typically the umbilical cord is cut immediately but the findings in this study suggest doctors wait one to three minutes, giving time for important nutrients to enter the newborn.

The study, published in the Cochrane Library researched more than 3,900 births. Babies whose cords were clamped early were twice as likely to have iron deficiencies six months later. Those whose doctors waited had a higher, healthier, birth weight. Dr. Hugh Miller, who delivers babies at Tucson Medical Center, says while the study is new, this is a method he's practiced for ten years.

"The blood that is in the umbilical cord, that represents blood in the placenta, is filled with nutrients, filled with special cells, stem cells in fact that can be vital. These children are receiving an auto transfusion of their own blood just at the time of birth to avert the anemia they would otherwise face," Dr. Miller said.

Each individual mother should talk to their doctor about whether or not this is right for them. But, Dr. Miller feels the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

"There's a small risk of jaundice in the child but that risk is easily managed and is much less of a risk than the anemia."

The College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has not yet recognized late clamping as the standard of care but doctors like Dr. Miller feel it's a standard that could be adopted.


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