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Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping Improves Iron Deficiencies With Infants

A new study done by doctors in Argentina shows that delayed umbilical cord clamping and the position the baby is held directly after birth improves iron deficiencies with infants. By delaying the clamping off of the umbilical cord by just a few minutes, it allows more blood to flow from the placenta to the infant decreasing the risk the of iron deficiency.

umbilical cord clamping

Delayed umbilical cord clamping decreases chances of iron deficiency in infants. Image Courtesy: Babys Bounty. org

The umbilical cord forms during the fifth week of fetal development and is attached to the mothers placenta during pregnancy operating as an artery between the mother and her unborn child to supply the baby with vital nutrients needed for growth. When the baby is fully developed inside the mothers womb the umbilical cord reaches 20 inches in length and pumps around 240 ml of oxygenated blood full of nutrients from mother to baby.

Lead author Nestor Vain, of the Foundation for Maternal and Child Health in Buenos Aires, said in a journal news release that, “Our study suggests that when umbilical cord clamping is delayed for two minutes, holding the baby on the mother’s chest or abdomen is no worse than the currently recommended practice of holding the baby below this level,” Vain said.

Researchers have found that the current way of holding the baby directly after birth at the level of the mothers placenta before clamping the umbilical cord is not only uncomfortable for the person holding the baby, but clamping off the umbilical too soon heightens the babies chances of having iron deficiencies and diminishes the vital contact needed with the mother directly after birth.

“Iron deficiency in newborn babies and children is a serious public health problem in low-income countries, and also prevalent in countries from North America and western Europe.” Vain said. 

Babies that have low iron levels are at high risk for becoming anemic, will sometimes have pale skin, trouble maintaining body temperature, and increased risk for getting infections. If the baby is born prematurely with iron deficiencies its important to breast feed the baby and give them baby cereals high in iron when they reach the proper age. Doctors suggest breastfeeding as opposed to formula, because breast milk is much higher in iron and vital nutrients.

Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping Improves Iron Deficiencies With Infants.

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