A new study published today in the British Medical Journal rekindles the debate on whether there is a benefit to waiting a little while to cut the umbilical cord after a baby is born.
The standard of care in the U.S., as well as other developed nations, is to cut a newborn’s umbilical cord within seconds of delivery. But as this new study shows, babies whose cords are cut sooner may have a greater risk of being anemic at four months compared to babies whose cords are cut after 3 minutes of life.
Dr Hakakha’s opinion: I think you have to weigh your options. If you have a family history of certain disorders that may benefit from cord blood banking, that may be a better option. If however, you don’t, and are delivering a 35 week infant, delayed cord clamping may be a more reasonable choice.
Dr Brown’s opinion: This study only looks at outcomes at 4 months of age. Most babies do not develop iron-deficiency anemia until 6-9 months of age. And, the study does not look at long-term outcomes of babies whose cords were cut sooner rather than later. I’d like to see what (if any) effects occur later in life to see if there is benefit or harm from the timing of cord clamping.