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Delayed Cord Clamping Increases Iron Stores in Infants

The authors found babies' blood and iron levels were healthier when the cord was clamped later

 

Delaying clamping of the umbilical cord after birth benefits newborn babies, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

In many high income countries, it is standard practice to clamp the umbilical cord connecting mother and baby less than a minute after birth. However, clamping the cord too soon may reduce the amount of blood that passes from mother to baby via the placenta, affecting the baby's iron stores.

On the other hand, delayed cord clamping, which is carried out more than a minute after birth, may also slightly increase the risk of jaundice. The World Health Organization now recommends cord clamping between one and three minutes after birth.

The researchers reviewed data from 15 trials involving a total of 3,911 women and their babies. They looked at outcomes for mothers and outcomes for babies separately, and looked at haemoglobin concentrations as an indicator of healthy blood and iron levels.

While clamping the cord later made no difference to the risk of maternal haemorrhaging, blood loss or haemoglobin levels, babies were healthier in a number of respects.

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Folic Acid Supplements in Early Pregnancy Lowers Autism Risk

Women who took folic acid supplements in early pregnancy almost halved the risk of having a child with autism. Beginning to take folic acid supplements later in pregnancy did not reduce the risk

 

This is shown in new findings from the ABC Study and Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA).

Women who took folic acid supplements from four weeks before conception to eight weeks into pregnancy had a 40 per cent lower risk of giving birth to children with childhood autism (classic autism). Use of folic acid supplements midway through pregnancy (week 22) had no effect.

The findings only apply to a lower risk of childhood autism, the most severe form of autism. The results show no reduction in the risk of atypical or unspecific autism. The study also investigated the prevalence of Asperger syndrome, but the number of examined children was too low to give a reliable result.

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