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Expert warns against early cord cutting

Clamping or cutting the umbilical cord immediately after birth does not benefit mother or baby, an expert has warned.

Early cutting is widely practiced across Europe but Dr Andrew Weeks suggests that midwives should wait three minutes until after the birth to cut the cord.

He says that early cord cutting may have no ill effects for the mother, but it may harm the baby.

At birth the umbilical cord sends oxygen-rich blood to the baby's lungs until they begin breathing and also helps to increase their iron status.

Dr Andrew Weeks says that delaying cord clamping for normal births should no be too difficult, but it may be more complex for caesarean sections.

However, it is caesarean babies how may benefit the most from delayed cord clamping, he says.

He concludes that it is time for others to follow the lead of the World Health Organisation and incorporate delayed cord clamping into their delivery routines.

Dr Andrew Weeks wrote in this week's British Medical Journal.

British Medical Journal