Clamping umbilical cord soon after birth could hurt baby`s health

Melbourne: Clamping the umbilical cord too soon after birth could reduce the amount of blood that passes from mother to baby via the placenta, which could affect the baby`s iron stores and birth weight, a new study has found.

The findings of the international review led by La Trobe University are in conflict with the standard practice in many Western countries of clamping and cutting the umbilical cord within a minute of birth.

Published by the Cochrane Collaboration, the new analysis found that newborns that experienced clamping more than a minute after birth had higher haemoglobin levels one to two days later and were also less likely to be iron-deficient three to six months after birth.

Birth weight was also about 90 grams greater with delayed cord clamping, which could provide newborns with an extra 50 to 100 millilitres of blood.

Lead author Susan McDonald from La Trobe University and the Mercy Hospital for Women said that there is much stronger evidence to suggest that delayed cord clamping following a normal-term birth is beneficial.