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When should the umbilical cord be clamped?

The birth of a child is a simply wonderful event. Part of it is the joy of finally being able to meet a being that has been growing inside his mother’s womb, and the other is the happiness that comes with loving someone who loves you unconditionally as well. But with every birth, the risk of complications exists, which is why birth centers have detailed protocols that they must follow in order to limit the risks of infection and injury.

Part of these protocols includes when an umbilical cord must be cut, even though, as a brand new parent, you may not think about it when the baby is first born. Nevertheless, there are questions about whether the rules surrounding when umbilical cords should be changed. 

Essentially, a recent study of infants suggested that children who a few extra minutes attached through their cords had a boost in neurodevelopment compared to those who had their cords clamped immediately after birth.

Specifically, the study found that children who had their cords clamped at least three minutes after birth had better social and fine motor skills compared to those who did not have additional wait time. The additional time allows for the baby to be better able to cope with the transition from the womb to the outside world. Further, the additional iron that a baby enjoys can help with brain development.

Although the study does not, by itself, represent a change in protocols, it could lead to a change in the standard of care for birthing procedures.  

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