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Fine Motor Skills Increased With Delayed Cord Cutting For Boys

First Posted: May 27, 2015 02:43 PM EDT
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Cutting the umbilical cord later may help prevent iron deficiency and increase fine motor skills.

New findings published in the JAMA Pediatrics found long-term effects of delayed umbilical cord clamping, involving waiting a few minutes to clamp the cord after birth in order for the baby to receive more blood from the placenta. In fact, it could just be enough of a reason to change one of the most common birthing practices, according to researchers.

"There is quite a lot of brain development just after birth," said lead author Dr. Ola Andersson of Uppsala University in Sweden. "Iron is needed for that process."

For the study, researchers looked at 263 full-term Swedish newborns, half of whom were randomly assigned to delay cord clamping until about three minutes after birth. The others had their cords clamped at 10 seconds after birth.

Four years later, the children were showed similar signs of intelligence regardless of when their umbilical cords had been cut.

"When you just meet a child, you wouldn't see or notice any differences," Andersson said, via Reuters Health. "But we could see the differences in fine motor function."

After assessing the children's IQ, motor skills and behavior, overall, parents were also required to report their child's development in communication, problem solving and social skills. While everything appeared to be similar, children from the delayed cord clamping group had a more matured pencil grip on the fine motor skills test and better skills on some social domains when compared to those whose cords were clamped early.

However, when divided by sex, researchers only found noticeable differences in boys, not girls. As iron deficiency is much more common among male infants, this may explain why.

Furthermore, delaying cord clamping helps to delay an extra 3.5 ounces of blood to transfuse to the baby, otherwise known as the equivalent of a half-gallon of blood to an adult.

Related Articles 

Low Iron May Increase The Risk of Autism in Expectant Mothers
Later Clamping of Umbilical Cord Could Boost Iron and Hemoglobin Levels in Newborns 

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