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According to Dr. Alan Greene,  a pediatrician who’s well known by parents everywhere, the simple act of waiting a bit longer (just 90 seconds) to clamp a newborn’s umbilical cord at birth may be the key to saving the lives and health of millions of babies around the world. Waiting to clamp the cord, or as Greene calls it,  TICC TOCC (Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping) will benefit all babies around the world — because if you wait to clamp the umbilical cord, a baby will receive an immediate transfusion of red blood cells, white blood cells, oxygen and antibodies, all of which may equal better health.

Greene notes that iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia and that, “Even when iron deficiency is not severe enough to cause anemia, it has been linked to lasting damage to the developing brain.” Because infancy is an important time to fight off iron deficiency, and because right after birth, the umbilical cord actively pumps iron-rich, oxygen-rich, stem-cell-rich blood into a baby, Greene believes waiting to clamp may decrease iron deficiency in babies and in turn, result in healthier babies all over the world. Also according to Greene, The World Health Organization (WHO)  estimates that we could increase world productivity by 20% simply by solving iron deficiency in developing nations. This is not the first time the umbilical cord debate has popped up. Past research also says that we likely cut the cord too early, thus denying our babies vital umbilical cord blood and crucial stem cells. Even with growing research about the benefits of waiting to clamp the cord, most hospitals are still clamping early — so as a parent you may want to consider including, “waiting to cut the cord” in your birth plan. Watch the video above to see Greene discuss this issue at his recent talk at TEDxBrussels.


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