For years we have heard the rumours and theories regarding when to clamp and cut a newborn's umbilical cord after birth.


Now we are faced with more expert theories, as health organisations are beginning to recommend delayed cord clamping in newborn babies.


The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has advised medical professionals to wait at least 30 to 60 seconds before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord, which seems reasonable.


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During pregnancy, the umbilical cord carries vital nutrients and blood from the mother to the baby, via the placenta. 


When the baby is born, the cord is immediately clamped, cutting the new born off from the placenta's supply of nutrients. 


In most Western countries,the umbilical cord is clamped right after birth, usually between 10 to 15 seconds after.


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However, a growing body of research is showing that infants may benefit from an additional blood volume, if the cord clamping was delayed by a minute.


Experts say this can affect development, especially for babies born early.


Dr Maria Mascola, an author of the research, said: "We have known for several years that among pre-term infants, delayed cord clamping reduces the risk of several serious complications of prematurity, such as anemia." 


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The research found that placental transfusion in full-term infants increased haemoglobin levels and provided sufficient iron reserves in the first six to eight months of life, which subsequently prevented an iron deficiency. 


In premature babies, delayed clamping has been associated with improved circulation, better red blood cell volume and decreased need for a blood transfusion. 


The World Health Organisation has also recommended that the umbilical cord should be clamped after the first minute.


Science has spoken, mums - what do you think?


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