Hospitals are delaying cutting premature babies’ umbilical cords by one minute after a study found it improved their chance of survival by 30 percent. 

The eight year international study which involved New Zealand researchers, showed an extra minute attached to mum allowed more blood to be pumped from the placenta which helped maintain healthy oxygen levels.  The standard method has been to cut the cord immediately.  

Every year, around 5000 babies are born prematurely in New Zealand. The researchers estimate that worldwide, delayed clamping could save between 11,000 and 100,000 extra lives per year – and it costs nothing.

Obstetrician Dr Katie Groom was helping run the study in New Zealand and said before this research they were unsure how best to care for these very small and vulnerable babies at the time of birth.  ”Now we are pleased to announce hospitals are changing their practise to use the delayed method….we know Auckland City Hospital has and we hope more will as word gets out’.

It is thought that those extra, crucial seconds may allow premature babies to receive extra red and white blood and stem cells from the placenta, which may help them maintain healthy levels of oxygen, control infection better and repair injured tissue. It also gives them more time to start breathing by themselves, avoiding invasive procedures.“A perfect result for the research team – and for thousands of families around the world,” says Dr Groom.

You can watch the full article published in The New Zealand Herald here