Australian researchers have discovered just how important delayed cord clamping can be, especially when it comes to our littlest fighters. 

Waiting just 60 seconds before clamping the umbilical cord can dramatically reduce the risk of death for premature babies, the new study confirms.

Every hospital is different when it comes to cord clamping. Some medical experts believe it’s best to clamp the cord immediately. Others believe that waiting 60 seconds will benefit bub by increasing the volume of blood transferred from placenta and improving blood pressure.

But what about premature infants? Is there any benefit to delayed cord clamping in babies born before 37 weeks?

A new study, conducted by the University of Sydney, claims so. And there is pretty convincing data to prove it.

Delayed clamping decreases premature deaths

The study involved 2800 babies born before 37 weeks. It revealed that delayed cord clamping reduced the relative risk of death in hospital by one third. 

Associate Professor David Osborn, lead author and a neonatal specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital explains,”We estimate that for every thousand very pre-term babies born more than 10 weeks early, delayed clamping will save up to 100 additional lives compared with immediate clamping.”

Simple procedure could save “thousands”

University of Sydney professor Jonathan Morris tells ABC News the findings could change the way premmie babies are treated. He says delayed cord clamping is now common for full term babies because it’s proven to help them adapt better to life outside the womb, but the research shows it’s also safe for premmies.

“It meant for every 20 babies born at less than 28 weeks that received delayed cord clamping, one extra baby would survive,” he says.

“This is such a significant finding because it’s such a simple intervention and it saves lives. It’s available to every baby born pre-term and it doesn’t cost anything.”

He says the research also showed that premature babies who received delayed clamping needed fewer blood transfusions. It also lessens the need for breathing tubes and other “potentially harmful interventions”.

University of Sydney Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM says the research is a breakthrough for families who have experienced preterm birth.

“This is a cause which is very important to me, with my own granddaughter born at 28 weeks. She is now a vibrant three year old but I know many others don’t have such a great outcome which is why research in this area is so vital,” she told medical reporters.

This major breakthrough for premmie babies will be published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It comes just one month after medical researchers made a groundbreaking discovery to prevent stillbirth.

For more stories on the amazing advances in NICU and premature research, have a look at  our articles about the NICU where mums can sleep over with their premature babies and the artificial womb that’s helping premmies survive. 

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe, including her son, daughter, cat, dog and partner. When she's not writing, you can find her lounging by the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach or nagging her kids to put on their pants.

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