If doctors would wait a mere 60 seconds to clamp preterm babies umbilical cords, it could potentially save the lives of 100,000 babies. That’s what a new Australian study has proposed after researching preterm babies whose umbilical cords were cut with immediacy after birth. In cases where doctors clamped the cord following a one minute delay, mortality rates increased by over 6 percent. The WHO’s current recommendations already include the waiting period of 60 seconds, but clearly, not all doctors are following the guidelines.
According to the new study, at least 9 percent of preterm infants whose cords were clamped immediately died. There are 15 million preterm babies born every year, which is where the 100k number is derived from after considering the findings of the Australian study. The WHO recommends that all doctors should allow a minute’s worth of time to pass before administering the clamping procedure for preterm babies.
As it stands, premature births are the leading cause of infant death. Additionally, premature births can often lead to brain and developmental disorders.
According to Daily Mail
Dr Haywood Brown, a Duke University maternal-fetal health specialist and president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) says that ‘delayed cord clamping clearly benefits the infant – born at term and preterm – but greatest benefits are for preterm infants.’
Preterm babies are born with less blood in their bodies than term babies.
Anemia, a temporary condition in which the blood does not have enough red blood cells, is common in preterm babies. All babies, but especially those born preterm, break down red blood cells more quickly than their bodies are able to reproduce them on their own.
The earlier the baby is born, the more prone to issues the baby becomes. As often is the case, placenta blood is used as part of blood transfusion blood for preterm babies, who often require these transfusions to save their lives. The mother’s blood will pass on immunoglobulins, iron and antibodies to the baby, who typically is in desperate need of such things.
The study says that benefits likely do not increase beyond a 60 second wait period.