Premature Cord Clamping

Premature Cord ClampingOne of the most memorable moments for parents is when the doctor offers a father or mother a chance to "cut the cord". Interestingly enough there are now many studies indicating that physicians may be too hurried in their routines and that clamping and cutting the cord should be a bit later than what many are used to today.

Understanding the Whole Issue

If you look at medical practices over the past 50 years or so you would see that most doctors clamp the cord almost as soon as a baby has emerged from its mother's body and moments later that cord is cut. However, it is now being recognized that many babies would benefit greatly from a few minutes more connected to this vital tissue. In the past, medical experts believed that babies had the majority of their blood volume and nutrients within moments of delivery. Unfortunately, studies are proving them wrong and showing that there are most certainly some risks created by severing that cord too quickly.
  • Blood loss - One of the most severe of the risks is that of blood loss, and though a premature baby might have been spared premature cord cutting, it is now known that roughly 1/3 of a newborn's blood volume remains in the placenta. So, full term or premature, almost all babies are losing out on vital blood cells when premature cord clamping is used.
  • Nutrient loss - Naturally, with the loss of blood there is also loss of important nutrients. Iron is one of the most significant, and it is believed that a newborn can be put at risk for iron deficiency through premature cord clamping.
  • Oxygen issues - Almost everyone knows that problems with the umbilical cord can lead to problems with oxygen levels. When a cord is prematurely clamped, it does prevent a baby from getting the highest amounts of oxygen possible. Birth is already a high stress moment for the baby, and so oxygen is crucial. Losing the direct source coming from the placenta can lead to increased risks such as the development of cerebral palsy, respiratory problems, and poor developmental skills - among other issues
The benefits of leaving a cord unclamped far outweigh any risks, and in addition to preventing those serious issues above, it is felt that delaying the moment when the cord is clamped can also decrease the risk of sepsis, anemia, and intraventricular hemorrhaging in the newborn.

What Are the Suggestions?

So, if the average doctor has been clamping a cord roughly thirty seconds after the baby arrives, how long are the experts suggesting doctors wait? It is interesting to note how brief a period is being suggested, and proves that it is not a difficult or risky procedure to implement. Current suggestions indicate that up to three minutes should suffice for babies of any size or condition. Whether it is a premature or full term baby, it is considered advisable to simply wait a few minutes longer for the placenta to give the baby as much blood volume and nutrients as possible. This is going to help the baby overcome the strains of child birth and to develop the healthy system possible before being permanently cut off from his or her connection to mother. This is an important issue that all parents should consider. It is a rare chance to help an infant ward off health issues and remain as healthy as possible at a crucial moment. Most physicians are also becoming aware of this matter and it is a topic to discuss with them as you plan for your baby's delivery. Source:
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