New research, published on May 26 in the online edition of JAMA Pediatrics, suggests that delayed clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord at birth may have beneficial effects for infants, particularly boy children. By delaying the clamping the infant receives 1/2 cup more blood, blood that is iron rich. This additional blood is believed to help prevent iron deficiency, which is especially beneficial for boys who are more likely to have iron deficiencies later on.
The study consisted of 260 Swedish children all of whom were delivered at a single hospital in Sweden. The random control trial consisted of two groups, one that had their cord clamped at the standard time of 10s and the second group had their cord clamped at a minimum of 3 minutes. All participants underwent psychological testing at 4 years of age to assess their development.
The researchers found that boys in the delayed group scored higher in motor functioning activities as well as pro-social behaviour. While there were no noticeable differences in the girls scores across groups. The study does come with its limitations however, as researchers note that they cannot definitively show that delayed cord clamping is what affected the children's development.