A new study has found that waiting just two minutes to cut the umbilical cord after birth, can give babies a 'significant' health boost as it reduces the risk of blood disorders.
The study was conducted by boffins at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and involved more than 1,900 newborns. Lead author Eileen Hutton, assistant dean of midwifery at the university, said that the results showed that as little as a 2-minute delay could not only halve the risk of anaemia by half, but also increase low iron levels in the blood by a third.
"The results of our study clearly show this reduces the incidence of anaemia and improves iron stores in newborns. And, more importantly, these benefits extend beyond the early neonatal period," the Daily Mail quoted her, as saying.
Anaemia is a shortage of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin in the blood that causes paleness, tiredness, shortness of breath and can affect brain development.
Delayed clamping has previously been linked to an increased risk of jaundice, which in serious cases can harm the baby and affect the brain.
As a part of the study, boffins analysed 15 previous trials on cord clamping from 11 countries. About half of babies had immediate cord clamping, while the rest had their cords clamped between two and three minutes after birth.
Based on the findings the researches concluded that late clamping is good for the baby, and does not increase the newborn's blood volume by up to 30 per cent, as previously thought. "Late clamping of the umbilical cord is an inexpensive way of enhancing blood status, preventing anaemia over the first three months of life and enriching iron stores for as long as six months," the researchers state.
"Although this is of particular importance for developing countries in which anaemia during infancy and childbirth is highly prevalent, it is likely to have an important impact on all newborns," they added. The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.