Delayed umbilical cord clamping….

The article linked below by Bridie Smith appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 11/8/13 and refers to recent research supporting the notion that delayed clamping of the umbilical cord is a good thing for the baby.
http://www.smh.com.au/national/dont-cut-cord-too-hastily-for-babys-sake-20130810-2rozr.html
We used to think that early clamping of the cord (eg within a minute or so of the birth) was a good thing in terms of reducing the risk of haemorrhage for the mother (heavy bleeding) associated with delivery of the placenta. We now know that the timing of cord clamping is probably not important with respect to maternal bleeding.
The most recent evidence shows that where cord clamping is delayed by a few minutes, the baby benefits by getting some of the extra blood which would normally be discarded with the placenta. This means that these babies tend to have higher iron levels over the first few months of life compared with babies who had early cord clamping. Does this matter? Well, in a first world country such as Australia, probably not as much as in a developing country but still, overall it’s likely to be a good thing.
Are there potential negative consequences to delayed cord clamping? Whilst getting an extra boost of blood at birth is mostly a good thing, on the negative side, there is a small increase in jaundice requiring treatment with light therapy (about an extra 1 in 50 babies over and above the usual amount requiring light therapy) and whilst not a serious issue it is always a bit concerning and unsettling for new parents. Also delayed cord clamping is not always practical as sometimes babies require a little extra resuscitation at birth or there may be other medical reasons why it is not feasible or advisable and early clamping and cutting of the cord is necessary.
In summary, delayed cord clamping probably has more advantages than disadvantages and in most settings is likely to become usual care.

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