14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Early May Put Baby's Health At Risk

Newborn should not have cords cut straight away medics claim

The NHS has been warned that cutting babies' umbilical cords too early puts them at risk of iron deficiency.

Experts have now called the NHS's 50 year old policy of cutting and clamping immediately after birth into question.

The Guardian reports that 'medical bodies, senior doctors and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT)' all want maternity units to stops routinely clamping, and leave the uncut cord until it stops pulsating naturally.

They say that early cutting puts babies at risk of anaemia because it denies them the chance to receive what could be as much as a third of their blood volume from the placenta through the cord.

Current standard procedure across the NHS since the 1960s has been for babies' cords to be cut as soon as they are delivered. This is backed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which advises the NHS in England as to what medical practice it should follow.

NICE currently states that 'early clamping and cutting of the cord' is a key element of the 'active management' of the third stage of labour, just after the birth. However, if the mother requests the 'physiological management' of this stage, then she is left to deliver her placenta naturally, and the cord is kept uncut.

NICE are now reviewing their guidelines, and will issue new advice on cord clamping in June, 2014. Doctors are said to be hoping that this will lead to delayed clamping.

Professor Mark Baker, director of Nice's centre for clinical practice, told the Guardian that they were aware an update was needed:

"Nice is currently updating its guidelines for the care of women and their babies during childbirth, which includes the timing of cord-clamping, as evidence and intelligence collected during the review process [since its 2007 advice] indicated an update was needed. Our priority is to ensure that mothers and babies get the best possible care."