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Delay in clamping umbilical cord benefits newborns, says MoHFW

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on November 08, 2019 Published on November 08, 2019

Babies can gain an additional 30 per cent blood volume, and up to 60 per cent more red blood cells in weight in first five minutes following birth. Representative image   -  Getty Images

A slight delay in severing of umbilical cord of the baby can do good to the newborn, the Ministry of Health Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has said in an advisory issued to all States.

The advisory states, “Babies can gain an additional 30 per cent blood volume, and up to 60 per cent more red blood cells, up to 214 grams in weight in first five minutes following birth, and they will have increased iron stores and less chances of anaemia, stronger immune system on deferring cutting of the cord, until placenta is naturally delivered post the baby’s birth.”

While the baby is in the uterus, oxygen and nutrients are transferred from the mother’s blood across the placenta to the foetus through the umbilical cord. Instead of actively inducing separation of placenta with drugs, there should be a wait of between 5 to 15 minutes in which time, the mother will naturally shed the placenta.

As the baby is attached to the placenta via the umbilical cord, after the baby is delivered, placenta follow. “If the placenta is not separated within 15 minutes, doctor can take a call for manual separation or if the heart rate of the baby is lower than 60 beats per minute,” states the advisory.

Even as the baby is born it is still attached to the mother’s womb via the umbilical cord, there is a continued umbilical vein flow at this stage which may be part of physiological mechanisms assisting the baby for smoother transition, it is believed.

The advisory also states that this practice should be initiated in mothers who have a spontaneous onset of labour. A nurse should help the mother establish skin to skin breast feeding for the baby in this time. The Ministry has stated that this practice was studied and, implemented in close to 1,000 deliveries in in Gujarat and West Bengal, which led to babies getting more oxygen, more blood, more iron, promoted breastfeeding, bonding and less maternal blood loss.

The Gujarat government subsequently up scaled this practice in PDU Hospital, Rajkot, Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, SSG Hospital Vadodara, Civil Hospital Surat, Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital, Dharampur and Community Health Centre Chotila with a compliance of 80 to 90 per cent.

Published on November 08, 2019
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