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Wait a few minutes to cut the umbilical cord after a baby is born. That's the new advice from University of South Florida researchers after a review of most of the research on the topic, now published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
Why? Clamping and cutting the cord immediately stops the flow of blood from the placenta to the newborn baby, blood that's rich in stem cells. It's only been in the last decade or so that researchers have realized the importance of stem cells, and now researchers are saying that blood should go to the baby. "It is not just regular blood going in," lead researcher Paul Sanberg told LiveScience. "It is nature's first stem cell transplant."
Researchers say that waiting until the cord stops pulsing takes only a minute, and that doing so could potentially reduce the risk of common newborn complications like respiratory distress, lung disease, blood infection and more. Convinced there's an evolutionary reason for the pulsing cord, Sanberg says the fact that many birthing moms around the world (and until recently in the West) would squat to give birth probably helped the blood flow faster.
Assuming you have a doctor who's open to it, this is a simple one: Ask your doctor if -- barring any complications, of course -- she'll leave you and baby connected until the cord stops pulsing (and then, yes, dad can cut). Look at it this way: It'll give you a few extra minutes to bond with your baby before she's whisked off to be weighed, measured, and bathed while she's getting one last gift from your womb.
Would you consider asking your doc to hold off on clamping? Chime in below!
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