Leeds midwife wins a battle to change birth guidelines

Amanda Burleigh.
Amanda Burleigh.
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A MIDWIFE has succeeded in her campaign to change national guidelines around a crucial element of childbirth.

Amanda Burleigh, from Leeds, has been researching the benefits of delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord which connects mother and baby.

She said there were many health issues linked to immediate cord clamping.

Now, national body the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has said its latest guidelines will advise that delaying umbilical cord clamping is best practice.

Amanda, from Shadwell, said: “It’s massive progress.

“If the RCM are getting on board, it’s going to be best practice and it’s definitely coming in.”

The midwife, who works at St James’s Hospital, started to look into the issue after noticing the increasing numbers of youngsters with special needs or conditions like asthma. autism, deafness and allergies.

The umbilical cord connects the baby to the mother’s placenta and supplies it with oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. During births in this country, practice is to cut the cord almost immediately after an infant is delivered and then cut it.

But Amanda came across research which suggested a link between quick cutting of the cord and various conditions.

She began to look at the issue herself and said it had been proved that premature babies benefitted from leaving the cord intact for longer.

Some hospitals have now changed their policies while the World Health Organisation has changed its advice and Unicef has revealed that a form of anaemia could be caused by immediate cutting of the cord.

Amanda carried out an audit at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital and helped design an award-winning resuscitation trolley for babies which can be used without cutting the cord.

Her latest success is the confirmation that the RCM are changing their guidelines.

Chief executive Prof Cathy Warwick said: “The Royal College of Midwives fully supports your observations that practice should be changed in relation to cord clamping at birth.”

Amanda said: “This is a huge step forwards and confirms that the practice of immediate cord clamping was not evidence-based and needs to be changed.”