In most hospital delivery rooms, doctors routinely clamp and sever the umbilical cord less than a minute after an infant’s birth, a practice thought to reduce the risk of maternal hemorrhaging.
But a new analysis has found that delaying clamping for at least a minute after birth, which allows more time for blood to move from the placenta, significantly improves iron stores and hemoglobin levels in newborns and does not increase the risks to mothers. Doctors usually clamp the umbilical cord in two locations, near the infant’s navel and then farther along the cord, then cut it between the clamps. The timing of the procedure has been controversial for years, and the new analysis adds to a substantial body of evidence suggesting that clamping often occurs too quickly after delivery. Read a report at the New York Times.