Midwives to drop 30 second cord clamp rule
Delaying cord clamping thought to benefit baby and protect against anaemia.
The 30 second rule for cord clamping was due to a risk of the babies receiving too much of a synthetic hormone given to mothers to help child birth. However, the Royal College of Midwives is now preparing to change its guidance so that most babies will have the cord clamped between three and five minutes after birth.
The move comes due to a growing number of studies, which have indicated that delayed clamping tends to benefit the baby.
- An American study of 1,700 infants, published in 2007, concluded that a two-minute delay halved the chance of anaemia.
- A Swedish study found that delaying cord clamping for three minutes after birth reduced the chance of iron deficiency in four-month-old babies from six to one per cent, with no increase in jaundice or other complications previously linked to delayed clamping.
Mervi Jokinen, from the RCM, said the review would recommend midwives clamped and cut the cord “within three to five minutes” of birth.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) currently recommends clamping within 30 seconds, although an update is expected in 2014.
Last year the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists updated its guidance to recommend the cord “should not be clamped earlier than necessary, based on a clinical assessment of the situation”.
More on the umbilical cord:
Swedish Research shows waiting to cut cord is best for baby, 16 Nov 2011
Benefits of delayed cord clamping, Amanda Gwynne, 2011
How to write a birth plan
Photograph: grggrssmr @Flickr