Delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord in newborns by two minutes leads to better development of the baby during the first days of life, a new study has found.
The study conducted by scientists from the University of Granada and from the San Cecilio Clinical Hospital in Granada, Spain, found that the time in cutting the umbilical cord (also called umbilical cord clamping) influences the resistance to oxidative stress in newborns.
For the study, scientists worked with a group of 64 healthy pregnant women who went into labour in the San Cecilio Clinical Hospital.
They all had a normal pregnancy and spontaneous vaginal delivery. Half of the newborns had their umbilical cord cut 10 seconds after delivery, whereas the other half had it cut after two minutes.
The results of the research suggest that there are beneficial effects in the late clamping of the umbilical cord: there was an increase in the antioxidant capacity of mature newborns and there was moderation of inflammatory effects in the case of induced delivery.
According to the principal investigator in the project, University of Granada professor Julio Jose Ochoa Herrera, umbilical cord clamping is one of the most frequent surgical interventions practiced upon humans.
However, the right timing for clamping is controversial, and it involves important differences both for the mother and for the newborn.
“Our study demonstrates that late clamping of the umbilical cord has a beneficial effect upon the antioxidant capacity and reduces the inflammatory signal induced during labour, which could improve the development of the newborn during his or her first days of life,” Herrera said.