Waiting 30 seconds to two minutes after birth to cut the umbilical cord of a premature baby appears to lessen chances of bleeding in the newborn’s brain and reduce the need for transfusions, according to a new review of research.
Standard practice for preterm babies is to cut the cord as soon as possible, often within 10 to 15 seconds. A systematic review finds that delaying the clamping rather than doing it immediately also reduces anemia and increases blood pressure and blood volume, helping preterm infants off to a healthier start in life, says lead study author Heike Rabe, M.D., Ph.D. of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals in Brighton, England. "If the cord is left unclamped for a short time after the birth, some of the baby’s blood from the placenta passes to the baby to help the flow of blood to the baby’s lungs," Rabe explains. "Delaying cord clamping for just a very short time helped the babies to adjust to their new surroundings better."
The review appears in the October issue of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.
Heike Rabe | EurekAlert!
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