The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued an opinion with a surprisingly simple way to help raise the chances that premature babies will develop healthily. Based on a number of studies, the organization recommended waiting between 30 seconds and a minute before clamping an umbilical cord.
After a premature birth, babies are vulnerable to a number of dangerous conditions and disorders, including respiratory distress syndrome and cerebral palsy. With consequences like this, it is extremely important for doctors to do everything they can to help lower the risks for preemies.
Among the benefits of delayed clamping, studies apparently show that babies have better blood volume, less of a need for blood transfusions, and lower risks for hemorrhage. In fact, the organization's opinion said that delayed clamping can reduce the risk of hemorrhages by as much as 50 percent.
Despite these findings, the current practice is to clamp umbilical cords after only 15 or 20 seconds. With new information and a recommendation from an organization like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, however, doctors should begin to take notice. Since the consequences of premature births can be so dangerous for newborns and their families, medical professionals should jump at any opportunity to lower these risks.
Source: Reuters Health, "Delayed umbilical cord clamping may help preemies," Nov. 26, 2012