19 October 2004

---Delaying Can Be Beneficial

Weeks ago, the local news carried the sad plight of triplets born prematurely to a poor young couple. My heart was crushed as I saw the young couple watched slowly how, one by one, the babies expired one after another.

I think one more baby remains alive but is still fighting for dear life. The local media seems to have grown weary following up and there seems to be no updates lately. It might seem apt, for if journalists define "newsworthy" as something unusual, this particular news item has surely fallen out of its "newsworthiness." Everyday, hundreds of premature babies die here. What is unusual has already become normal.

Aside from being triplets in which there is somewhat a competition for maternal nutrition, one fatal problem that confronted the Cervantes triplets was prematurity. Premature babies are always at a disadvantage when it comes to survival compared with babies born at term.

Today, there is some good news.

Premature babies may be less likely to need blood transfusions if their umbilical cords are cut a bit later than normal.

Waiting 30 seconds to 2 minutes before cutting the umbilical cord could make the difference, say researchers including Heike Rabe, MD, PhD, of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals in Brighton, England.

The umbilical cord connects the baby to the mother's placenta, delivering oxygen-rich blood to the infant.

Delaying umbilical cord clamping by 30 to 120 seconds, rather than early clamping, seems to be associated with less need for transfusion and less bleeding in the infant's brain, according to the researchers.

Early clamping was defined as clamping in less than 30 seconds.

The extra time lets the baby get a little more blood from the placenta, which could reduce the need for a blood transfusion.


I think this is something the people of Fabella Hospital should look into. Fabella Hospital is where the Cervantes triplets got confined. It is also home to hundreds of mothers who give birth everyday.

Considering that one of the Cervantes triplets died of brain hemorrhage, which I think is common in prematurity cases, this new procedure might prove beneficial.

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