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WHO advises against early umbilical cord clamping

For many years, the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics have advised against early umbilical cord clamping. But obstetricians have been reluctant to change their habits.

Although no clamping occurs in nature, cord clamping has become such an accepted norm that delayed clamping is generally considered a new or unproved intervention.

Basic teaching of physiology could be a factor — most textbooks state or imply that the cord circulation closes only because of the application of the cord clamp, which is not accurate.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr. David Hutchon argues:

“Clamping the functioning umbilical cord at birth is an unproved intervention. Lack of awareness of current evidence, pragmatism, and conflicting guidelines are all preventing change. To prevent further injury to babies we would be better to rush to change.”

A separate review in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine also highlights the importance of delayed cord clamping, stating:

“Many clinical studies have revealed that the delayed cord clamping elevates blood volume and hemoglobin and prevents anemia in infants.

Moreover, since it was known that umbilical cord blood contains various valuable stem cells such as hematopoietic stem cells, endothelial cell precursors, mesenchymal progenitors and multipotent/pluripotent lineage stem cells, the merit of delayed cord clamping has been magnified.”

Sources:
British Medical Journal November 10 2010

Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine March 2010; 14(3):488-95

iVillage.com June 1, 2010

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