Don't clamp umbilical cords straight after birth, urges expert

November 10, 2010

Obstetricians and midwives should wait a few minutes before clamping the umbilical cords of newborn infants so that babies are not harmed by the procedure, argues Dr David Hutchon in an article published on bmj.com today.

Hutchon, a retired consultant obstetrician from the Memorial Hospital in Darlington, says it's time for the UK to follow guidance from the World Health Organisation and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics and refrain from early cord clamping.

Despite evidence for the benefit of delayed cord clamping, clinicians in the UK seem reluctant to change their practice, he says, and the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is not advising them to do so.

One explanation for the apparent resistance of clinicians to follow the evidence is that that cord clamping "has become the accepted norm so much so that delaying clamping is generally considered a new or unproved intervention," he writes.

Yet he argues that "applying a clamp to the cord is clearly an intervention, having the greatest effect when it is done quickly after birth." And he fears that babies might be injured by very early clamping, for example they could experience severe blood loss (hypovolaemia).

He adds that two popular pregnancy information books both imply that delayed cord clamping is the norm and explain the advantage to the baby of delayed clamping.

Hutchon believes that if the need for early cord clamping was removed from NICE's guideline, "there could be an overnight change in practice."

He concludes: "Clamping the functioning umbilical cord at birth is an unproven intervention. Lack of awareness of current evidence, pragmatism, and conflicting guidelines are all preventing change. To prevent further injury to babies we would be better to rush to change."
-end-


BMJ

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.