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Umbilical Cord Clamping Delay May Prove Beneficial

The New York Times reported late last month on new researcher indicating that changing the timing of clamping of an umbilical cord may have health benefits for the young child. Specifically, the new research team found that when the umbilical cord is clamped affects long-term iron levels in the infant. If the data is supported then it may suggest that standard practices need to be altered for most area childbirths.

The study conducted by Swedish researchers involved examination of 334 infants. Half of the group had their cord clamped within ten seconds of their birth. The other half of the group stayed connected to the cord for significantly longer-at least three minutes but sometimes longer. All other potentially relevant aspects of the two groups were held constant. In other words they were statistically identical in gestational age, head circumference, mother’s age, and similar features. The researchers hypothesized that there might be difference in the levels of iron in the blood of the infants depending on how much time had elapsed from the birth to the clamping of the umbilical cord. Iron deficiency is a birth injury that can affect youngsters soon after they are born.

The first blood tests taken two days after the birth of the research participants showed no significant differences in iron levels. However, blood taken from the infants later-four months after their birth-found a difference. The iron concentrations in children who had the cord clamping delayed were forty five percent higher than those whose cords were cut within ten seconds of birth. Importantly, there were no adverse effects seen with the delayed clamping. Often in these situations, medical researchers will find that a course of conduct produces both benefits but also leads to increased risk of a separate birth injury. In those cases, medical professionals are forced to closely weigh the pros and cons of each option. However, this umbilical cord research suggests that not to be the case. Colloquially many medical professionals had suspected that delayed clamping led to an increase in jaundice. However, the medical team in this study found that there were no differences in jaundiced rates based on when the cord was clamped.

It will be interesting to see if this new information is further supported and incorporated into practices by obstetricians. The” target=”_blank”>Chicago injury lawyers at our firm have often explained how the reasonableness of medical conduct often hinges on the practices of others in the area. Legal negligence rules are based on the mythical “reasonable man.” However, in practice whether or not a medical professional acted reasonably in any given situation hinges on whether or not other professionals would have acted similarly when faced with the same situations. When new research comes out that counsels toward a new course of conduct, it may not immediately make it unreasonable not to follow it. But as information spreads, evidence mounts, and practices change it could reach a point where it is negligent for the doctor not to abide by the new practice. When their conduct causes injury to the child or mother, then a birth injury lawsuit may be appropriate.

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