I read something that made me really happy today, a midwife from Leeds has been successful in her campaign to change the guidelines on cutting the umbilical cord. In the UK currently the cord is cut within the first 60 seconds after birth, however, this practice has little or no research to back it. 
Thanks to midwife Amanda Burleigh, the national body of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said its latest guidelines will advise that delaying umbilical cord clamping is best practice. Fortunately much research on the effects of cord cutting has been conducted.  For instance, the blood composition from a six month old baby will show whether the cord was cut instantly or whether they waited until it had finished pulsating and all the baby's blood was out of the placenta and into the baby. I also understand that newer research shows that it is even more beneficial to wait to cut the cord until the placenta has been expelled so that maximum number of stem cells are transferred to the new baby. After all, this is how it was millions of years ago or is this another "birthing design flaw"? 

The image above shows the infant blood volume at the time of cord clamping and as you can see at 3-4 minutes after birth the blood volume is a staggering 33% higher. Studies have shown that this could be optimal timing of cord clamping for the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia in infants.
Until delayed cord cutting is common practice in all hospitals within the UK, expectant parents can request that their babies cord isn't cut until it has stopped pulsating by writing it in their birth plan.  

Below is what the WHO (World Health Organisation) have said on the matter:

"For centuries, people have been clamping and cutting the umbilical cord at birth. However, the timing of cord clamping continues to vary according to clinical policy and practice, and the optimal timing has not yet been defined.

Early cord clamping is generally carried out in the first 60 seconds after birth, whereas later cord clamping is carried out greater than one minute after the birth or when cord pulsation has ceased.

To reduce the risk of postpartum haemorrhage in the mother, WHO recommends clamping the cord following the observation of uterine contraction at around three minutes after birth. A 2007 review however showed no significant difference in postpartum haemorrhage rates when early and late cord clamping were compared.

For the infant, there is growing evidence that delayed cord clamping is beneficial and can improve the iron status for up to six months after birth. This may be particularly relevant for infants living in low-resource settings with less access to iron-rich foods."

If you would like to read the article on Amanda Burleighs achivment click here  

If you would like to see studies on cord cutting and more, please click here 


    I love babies, children and all things relating to birth. I'm
    fascinated by how the body works through pregnancy and believe that knowledge is power. Therefore I would like to share my findings with anyone who will listen in the hope that they too will learn something new.


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