Doctors who deliver babies usually cut the umbilical cord within the first minute of birth, but researchers involved in a major new study think that's too hasty, reports Medical Xpress. They urge doctors to wait at least a full minute, the result being babies with healthier levels of blood and iron, and even higher birthweights. The delayed clamping brings a slightly higher risk of jaundice, but researchers say the benefits far outweigh the risks. The finding, published in the Cochrane Library, is in line with the World Health Organization recommendation that doctors wait one to three minutes, notes Ob.Gyn.News. Doing so allows the infant to receive more blood from mom via the placenta.
Will the review change long-standing practice in the US? The New York Times thinks it has the potential, though it would likely be a gradual process. “I suspect we’ll have more and more delayed cord clamping,” says one doctor affiliated with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Part of the rationale behind the quick clamping so common in the US is that it cuts down on the risk of maternal hemorrhaging, but the study—a review of data from trials involving nearly 4,000 women—found no increased health risk to mothers if doctors wait a little longer.