Baby feet
Delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord by a few minutes can lower the risk of brain damage, some researchers say. Reuters

A team of researchers claimed recently that delaying the umbilical cord cutting at birth by two minutes might not prove helpful in making the child brighter and smarter. However, it can help lower the risk of brain damage later in life.

The researchers who stand in favor of delayed cord clamping say that the “extra” two minutes leaves time for the baby to gather a few additional blood cells from the placenta. According to the team, the blood cells of the placenta are rich in iron and other nutrients that are necessary for the development of the brain in young children.

Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, headed by Dr. Ola Andersson, analyzed the time taken to clamp the umbilical cord of 263 children at the time of birth. The cord clamping of 141 children out of 263 was carried out after a delay of three minutes.

The researchers carried out neurological tests on the same group of children when they turned 4. They did not observe any changes in the neurological development in the two sets of children, but they observed fine motor development and pro-social behavior in children with delayed cord clamping.

“We did find higher scores for parent-reported prosocial behavior as well as personal-social and fine-motor development at 4 years, particularly in boys. The included children constitute a group of low-risk children born in a high-income country with a low prevalence of iron deficiency," the researchers reported. The study has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.