Clamping later increases baby’s blood flow

By Shayna Brouker • Published: October 8th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

From conception to birth, every movement a mother makes, every food she eats, every supplement she sips and every action she takes can either help or harm her baby. But in the minutes following the great miracle of birth, it’s all in her doctor’s hands — literally. Every detail makes a difference … even when doc clips the umbilical cord.

A new study from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that delaying clamping of the umbilical cord at least a minute after birth allows more blood to flow from the uterus to the baby without harming mom. More blood means better iron and hemoglobin stores and a decreased risk of iron deficiency three to six months after birth, compared with babies whose cords were clipped sooner. It’s a procedure that’s been disputed for years, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as the World Health Organization, have endorsed delayed clipping as a healthy baby practice.

The only risk, which is inherent for most newborns anyway, regardless of clipped cord timing, is jaundice. Jaundice is a common condition caused by excessive bilirubin in the blood, a byproduct of old red blood cells that the liver usually removes. It causes the skin and whites of the eyes to turn a yellowish color. While the appearance is unsettling for new parents, it usually doesn’t require medical attention. But be sure to watch for increasing intensity of the yellow hue or any change in your baby’s habits.

Another newborn condition to look out for is an umbilical hernia. This occurs when fat, fluid or intestine push through the abdominal walls, causing a bulge near the belly button. Many newborns get one after the umbilical stump falls off, and they usually close on their own. But talk to a doc if baby is vomiting or shows signs of infection. Newborns needs lots of T-L-C!