The umbilical cord is a vital link between the mother and the baby while it is in the womb, but the moment the baby is delivered, medics waste no time in cutting off this connection. In 2007 McMaster University researchers had suggested delaying the clamping of the cord to help curbing iron deficiency in babies and now a new research is again challenging this action and says that waiting till the cord stops pulsing could be advantageous for the newborns health.
According to Paul Sanberg the lead researcher at University of South Florida “Ob-gyns and parents should think about giving the cord blood to the baby, it only takes a few minutes.”
He elaborates that the umbilical cord carries nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the fetus and is important for the normal growth and development of the baby. In recent years it has also been found out that the cord blood cells have an extremely useful regenerative capacity and they can develop into different types of cells that are beneficial for treating various health problems.
The custom of cutting the cord early has only been in practice for about fifty years old and now that the usefulness of stem cells is known, doctors should wait for a few minutes till the umbilical cord stops pulsating. According to researchers this would give the cord blood enough time to reach the baby’s body and help in many problems associated with newborns such as respiratory problems, chronic lung diseases, brain hemorrhage, anemia, sepsis and eye diseases.
Sanberg says, “It is not just regular blood going in, it is nature’s first stem cell transplant.”
The cord blood cells can help significantly babies with underdeveloped organs, premature babies, those who are born undernourished or with other complications.
He added that even for healthy, normal babies, the blood is beneficial. It is an evolutionary thing that all mammals including humans have developed over time where the maternal blood is needed to be transferred to the child before severing the cord.
The information is thus important for those parents who are expecting a baby and may wish to discuss their choice with the doctors when the all important umbilical cord is cut during birth. A few minutes delay may indeed ensure better health of a lifetime for their child. – Atula, staff writer
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