A campaign by a midwife over the benefits of delaying cutting the umbilical cord is gaining worldwide support.
A petition started by Leeds hospital midwife Amanda Burleigh over the issue now has almost 3,000 signatures from people from more than 40 different countries.
She is determined to change the practice of clamping the cord immediately after birth, as she says research shows there are numerous health benefits to delaying the cutting of the cord, which connects mother and baby.
After finding support from the Royal College of Midwives, as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post last year, she is now lobbying health watchdog the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Amanda, from Shadwell, said: “Mounting evidence and growing interest in the benefits of delaying cord clamping has led some hospitals across the country to change their policies on the issue so they don’t cut the cord in healthy, full-term babies for two minutes.”
She started to look into the issue after noticing the increasing numbers of youngsters with special needs or conditions like asthma, autism, deafness and allergies, and found research suggesting a link between quick cutting of the cord and various health issues.
The winner of the Midwife of the Year Award in the Yorkshire Evening Post Best of Health Awards 2012 is now calling for NICE to publish new guidelines sooner than November 2014, as is currently planned.
“If we can get NICE to change the guidelines earlier, this may encourage other organisations worldwide to implement delayed cord clamping as well as making a difference to the one and a half million children that will be born in the UK between now and the review date,” she said.
Her campaign is being backed by the Fertility and Birth Network, a collective of pregnancy and birth specialists.
Founder Lori Fitzgerald said: “It’s important to us that women are able to make safe informed choices. Unless this information is shared widely then birthing women all over the UK simply won’t get to make an informed choice about the health of their babies and that isn’t ethical. ”
The petition is at: www.change.org/petitions, find it by searching for ‘cord clamping’.