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Research Finds Novel Method Of Handling Premature Births May Improve Outcomes

The neonatal intensive care unit at the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, Dec. 14 2017.
Nicholas McVicker
The neonatal intensive care unit at the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, Dec. 14 2017.

A non-standard method of handling a premature baby's umbilical cord may provide long-term benefits, according to a study from Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Infants.

The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, tested two different methods of giving cord blood to 135 premature infants at birth.

Babies born prematurely leave a lot of blood behind in the placenta.

Standard practice is to delay cutting the umbilical cord for a few moments so that more blood can transfer over.

Researchers tested that method, called delayed cord clamping, against one called cord milking, in which blood is transferred to the baby by gently squeezing the cord.

The study was led by Dr. Anup Katheria, director of the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital. He said at two years of age, the babies who received cord milking scored higher on tests of cognition and language.

“And so this is sort of the first signal suggesting that this milking technique might actually be better than delayed cord clamping, which has never been described until now, and it may, in fact, change our guidelines for what we currently do,” Katheria said.

Katheria is leading a worldwide study involving 1,500 premature babies to see if the results can be duplicated.

Research Finds Novel Method Of Handling Premature Births May Improve Outcomes
Research Finds Novel Method Of Handling Premature Births May Improve Outcomes
A study from Sharp Mary Birch Hospital finds a novel way of handling the umbilical cord of premature babies may improve their development.