Likely, you've heard the phrase "delayed cord clamping" -- it's the idea that all the blood in the placenta and umbilical cord should pump INTO the baby's body before the cord is cut, since it's intended to be the baby's own blood supply. Waiting just 94 seconds ups blood volume and helps prevent anemia in the baby's first year. While the benefits aren't very disputed, sadly, most OBs only wait an average of 17 seconds before clamping the cord.
Dr. Hutchon, a retired and decorated hospital consultant in the UK, invented (along with a team) The Basics Trolley. Basics stands for Bedside Assessment, Stabilisation and Initial Cardiorespiratory Support. This Trolley can save the lives of many babies, and help prevent a lot of temporary or life-long problems ... merely by allowing babies to remain attached by that umbilical cord.
It is set up right next to the mother and has a water heater and built-in resuscitator, so if there is an emergency, the baby can be resuscitated right there -- with the umbilical cord still attached.
Why is this so important? Well, because along with the blood that the baby's body needs, also comes oxygen -- and in a baby who isn't breathing right away, that lack of oxygen if the cord is immediately cut can cause brain damage and sometimes even death.
Hutchon says, “In the first 20 seconds or so one of the reasons the baby is sometimes not breathing is that they are still getting plenty of oxygen from the placenta through the umbilical cord.”
Twenty seconds may not seem like that long, but for a mother waiting for the first cry, or a doctor holding a newborn that isn't breathing, it can seem like an eternity ... especially if the baby is deprived of oxygen. But thanks to Hutchon's invention, that's already being used at multiple UK hospitals, babies will still be receiving oxygen for at least the first critical minute or so.
In fact, evidence is so strong to support delayed cord clamping that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently changed their recommendations to require delayed cord clamping, and Hutchon's trolley will soon be available in all hospitals in the UK.
Now, American ACOG, it's about time you get on board!
Did you delay cord clamping on your baby?
Image via rkimplerjr/Flickr