Earlier this month, researchers at the University of South Florida came out with a recommendation for pregnant women: wait longer before cutting the umbilical cord. The researchers conducted a review of the evidence to date and released a paper called Mankind’s First Natural Stem Cell Transplant in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
In current Western medicine, doctors generally clamp between about 30 seconds to a minute after birth. The cord may still be “pulsing” with blood during this time, as it can take longer than a minute for the full transfer to occur. When women give birth in a squatting position (as opposed to supine), gravity helps transfer the cord blood more quickly.
The researchers found that allowing the full load of cord blood stem cells to transfer to the infant before clamping can prevent anemia, intraventricular hemorrhage, and sepsis, while decreasing the need for blood transfusions. It also allows the infant to receive a complete retinue of clotting factors.
This finding caught my eye because Mike Merzenich has previously written about another potential correlation of early/late cord clamping: autism incidence. In a 2-part article entitled Autism and Early Oxygen Deprivation, he explored the theory that early cord clamping may be a contributing factor in autism. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 of that fascinating article if you’d like to dive into the topic further.