Delaying cutting baby’s umbilical cord by three minutes ‘could speed up their development later in life’
WAITING a few minutes to clamp the umbilical cord after birth could boost a child’s co-ordination and social skills, according to new research.
A study found waiting at least three minutes to cut the cord after birth led to improved development in boys.
They not only had a more ‘mature’ pencil grip, but also better scores on tests for certain social skills.
This is because delaying clamping allows more iron-filled blood to transfuse into the baby, which is important for its development.
Previous studies have linked low iron levels in babies to impaired learning, speaking and understanding, and conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
For the new study, the researchers followed up on 263 Swedish children born at full term to healthy mothers about four years earlier.
As newborns, the children had been part of a larger study in which a total of 382 babies were randomly assigned to either early cord clamping (within 10 seconds of birth) or late cord clamping (at least three minutes after birth).
Four years later, they found the children were similarly intelligent – regardless of when their cords had been clamped – but there were some notable differences.
“When you just meet a child, you wouldn’t see or notice any differences,” lead author Dr. Ola Andersson, of Uppsala University in Sweden, told Reuters Health.
“But we could see the differences in fine motor function.”
Fine motor function is is the coordination of small muscle movements, usually involving the synchronisation of hands and fingers with the eyes.
It is distinguishable from gross motor skills, which are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements.
Fine motor skills are required for actions such as picking up objects between the thumb and finger and writing carefully.
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