photo Susan Kotansky
Valeriana and her grandson, Jayden
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There are many things that help our children to be as healthy as possible during their first minutes, hours, days, months and years. If the findings of some new research are correct, then ensuring that our babies get their full volume of blood as they are born might be one of the more important steps we can take for the well-being of our children.
Here is the problem: while studies are showing us that there appears to be no good justification for the routine clamping and cutting of a baby’s umbilical cord seconds after the baby is born, survey after survey shows most obstetricians and many midwives still clamping and cutting cords very soon after delivery as a matter or course, with some rates as high as 95% (Downey and Bewley 2012; van Rheenen 2011). Dr. Jose Tolosa and colleagues write, “Although without clear benefit and no rationale to support it, early cord clamping remains the most common practice among obstetricians and midwives in the western hemisphere” (Tolosa et al. 2010).
Expectant mothers can take heart this Easter. Tucking into chocolate eggs is good for the baby, according to a study of over 300 women – especially if you are feeling a bit on edge.
Katri Raikkonen at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and her colleagues asked pregnant women to rate their stress levels and chocolate consumption.
After the babies were born, they looked for an association between the amount of chocolate their mothers had eaten and the babies’ behaviour. Six months after birth, the researchers asked mothers to rate their infants’ behaviour in various categories, including fear, soothability, smiling and laughter.
The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and “positively reactive” – a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter.
And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained.
The researchers point out that they cannot rule out the possibility that chocolate consumption and baby behaviour are both linked with some other factor.
But they speculate that the effects they observed could result from chemicals in chocolate associated with positive mood being passed on to the baby in the womb.
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