Leeds midwife’s success over campaign on newborn care

Amanda Burleigh.
Amanda Burleigh.
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A Leeds midwife who has masterminded a global campaign to delay the cutting of babies’ umbilical cords is celebrating a major victory,

New NHS draft guidelines recommended delaying the cutting of the cord which connects mother and baby for up to five minutes, as Amanda Burleigh had been calling for.

Research shows numerous health benefits to the practice, which Amanda started looking into after noticing increasing numbers of youngsters with special needs or conditions like asthma, autism and allergies.

She said she was very pleased after the publication of the new draft National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” she said. “I’ve been at this since 2006 and I just feel completely vindicated.”

Amanda, a midwife at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, initially began investigating worldwide research about the benefits of delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord, which previously was often clamped straight after delivery.

She started a petition on the issue, which attracted 5,000 signatures from more than 40 countries, and won support from the Royal College of Midwives.

But she was hoping that NICE, which provides guidelines for NHS care, would take notice.

The new draft guidance says cutting of the cord should be take place between one and five minutes after birth for most babies, apart from in certain medical circumstances.

Amanda added: “It’s really good – this will help nearly every baby.”

The midwife was also recognised for her campaign in the YEP Best of Health Awards 2012, as well as being shortlisted for other awards including by the British Journal of Midwifery.

Final NICE guidelines are due in November.

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