The great umbilical cord-cutting debate

Story highlights

  • Medical studies have shown the positive effects of delayed cord cutting
  • The World Health Organization recommends delayed umbilical cord cutting between 1 to 3 minutes after birth
  • American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists says most umbilical cords are cut within 15 to 20 seconds after birth

(CNN)For the layperson, a few minutes might tick by without a second thought, but those precious minutes after a baby is born could be beneficial for newborns later in life, some doctors say. When to "clamp" and or cut one of the most prominent fixtures associated with childbirth, the umbilical cord, has been at the center of an international cord-cutting clash for decades.

What started as a grass-roots movement by UK midwife Amanda Burleigh nearly a decade ago, has recently grabbed the attention of medical doctors around the world. "I wanted to find answers to why so many children, including mine, my friends' and my colleagues' appeared to have additional learning and health needs, especially the boys," said Burleigh. So she started reflecting on her own practice as a midwife.
"I began to question why we were trained to cut the umbilical cord immediately after a baby was born," said Burleigh. "I then started to explore my theory that there must be a link to a child's health based on when the cord is cut." Her curiosity grew into a movement.