Waiting just a minute longer to cut the umbilical cord after delivery can significantly improve a newborn’s hemoglobin levels and iron stores, according to a new study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
The study found the hemoglobin levels of newborns with delayed clamping were higher 24 to 48 hours after birth and that the newborns were less likely to experience iron deficiency at three to six months of age. Researchers discovered when the clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord is delayed for at least a minute, the blood from the placenta has more time to flow to the infant. However, the study also noted there was a 2 percent increase of jaundice in newborns that received delayed clamping.
The practice of delayed clamping is not encouraged by all health institutions and organizations. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviewed the new information and concluded the evidence was lacking and that they could neither support or discredit the potential benefits from delayed umbilical cord clamping. Conversely, the World Health Organization recommends delayed clamping to prevent iron deficiency anemia in infants.