Most people never stop to think about the timing of their baby’s umbilical cord clamping, or how critical the right timing can be for the infant’s health. New research has just come out that looks directly at this issue. Researchers at the University of South Florida’s Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair are reporting that doctors should wait a few minutes longer than the usual 30 seconds to 1 minute time period for optimal health results. Their studies showed that the last bit of blood from the umbilical cord is filled with important stem cells that are very useful to the newborn. “Several clinical studies have shown that delaying clamping the umbilical cord not only allows more blood to be transferred but helps prevent anemia as well,” explained the study’s lead author Dr. Paul Sanberg, the Center dircector. “Cord blood also contains many valuable stem cells, making this transfer of stem cells a process that might be considered ‘the original stem cell transplant’.” “Several randomized, controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have compared the effects of late versus early cord clamping,” said co-author Dr. Dong-Hyuk Park. “In pre-term infants, delaying clamping the cord for at least 30 seconds reduced incidences of intraventricular hemorrhage, late on-set sepsis, anemia, and decreased the need for blood transfusions.” “There remains no consensus among scientists and clinicians on cord clamping and proper cord blood collection,” summarized co-author and obstetrician Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and senior vice president of USF Health. “The most important thing is to avoid losing valuable stems cells during and just after delivery.”
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