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Top Docs 2014: Don't Touch this Umbilical Cord!


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When babies aren’t breathing at birth, doctors typically have to cut their umbilical cords and whisk them away from their mothers in an urgent attempt to resuscitate them. The intervention saves lives, but it’s a trade-off. These babies lose nutrient-rich cord blood that can help prevent brain damage and other complications. Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns is the first in the nation using a new technology that allows babies to receive cord blood while they’re resuscitated.

"Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns is the first in the nation using a new technology that allows babies to receive cord blood while they're resuscitated."

Using LifeStart’s neonatal resuscitation beds, clinicians pump oxygen into a baby’s lungs without cutting the umbilical cord. Newborns stay next to their mothers on a warmed platform that mimics skin-to-skin contact—while the nutrient-rich cord blood continues to flow. The Sharp Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch is studying whether delayed cord clamping can improve long-term brain function for these premature babies. Doctors at the hospital have used the beds on more than 10 babies so far and are seeing promising results.

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