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Home / My health / Kid's Health / Delayed cord clamping boosts baby’s health: Study

Delayed cord clamping boosts baby’s health: Study

Contrary to prior research, a new study has found that delayed clamping of the umbilical cord, helps boost newborn’s health; reducing the risks of iron deficiency anemia in future.

While previous studies have advocated clamping the umbilical cord within seconds after the birth of a baby to avoid the risk of jaundice; the latest study has found that if doctors wait for just three minutes before cutting the umbilical cord of the baby; significant health benefits can be insured for the future.

So far all health organizations and hospitals world over had been following the guidelines of early cord clamping. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed this guideline on early clamping from its list a few years back. There are still no firm guidelines on when the cord should be cut.

The recent research has found that delaying cord clamping while on one hand does not have any significant side-effects, not even those of jaundice; it does on the other hand, reduce the risk of the baby developing iron deficiency anemia in future.

According to researchers, this small delay could avert a lot of harm that comes to children and even prevent brain damage resulting from severe iron deficiencies. The three minute wait will help boost the volume of blood in baby’s body significantly; ensuring they get the best start in life, say the experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), in Sweden.

These researchers studied 400 babies born after low risk pregnancies and deliveries. Some of these babies had their cords clamped immediately, while for others the doctors waited three minutes before cutting the cord.

It was found that babies whose cords were clamped after three minutes had higher levels of iron at four months of age and had lesser chances of developing newborn anemia, as compared to those whose cords were clamped within 10 seconds of birth. It was also found that the delay resulted in no significant health risks or side effects.

Therefore, suggesting delayed clamping to be included in the standard care guidelines for full term deliveries after uncomplicated pregnancies; the experts also estimated that the practice will help prevent one case of iron deficiency per 20 babies with delayed clamping.

There are also recommendations for further research into the area, as the paper reads:

“Iron deficiency in the first few months of life is associated with neurodevelopmental delay, which may be irreversible. Whether increasing placental transfusion by deferring cord clamping will improve neurodevelopment in early childhood is not known but this hypothesis should be tested in large randomized trials.”

Speaking on the possibility of changing present guidelines, Patrick O’Brien, of the RCOG, said:

“The college will look at this and other evidence and consider if it is enough to change policy.”

Iron deficiency anemia is the most severe iron deficiency and almost 25 percent school going children world over suffer from it. Iron deficiency can lead to hampered brain development.

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