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Sharp Mary Birch Awarded $2.9M for ‘Umbilical Cord Milking’ Study

Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns was awarded a $2.9 million grant to lead a multi-hospital, international study on a technique to increase the flow of blood from the umbilical cord into the infant’s circulatory system.

About six million babies annually need resuscitation help, and current medical practice is to to clamp or cut a baby’s umbilical cord, ceasing blood flow from mother to baby.

The grant, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will gauge whether “umbilical cord milking” improves long-term health for babies needing resuscitation at birth.

This funding expands on prior umbilical cord milking studies from researchers at the Neonatal Research Institute at Sharp Mary Birch, which were also funded through NIH grants. The study, deemed the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, will involve 1,000 term infants needing resuscitation at birth in 10 hospitals across the United States and a hospital in Germany and Canada.

Cord milking provides additional cord blood to babies at birth, and has been shown by investigators at the Neonatal Research Institute to improve heart, lung and brain function for premature and term infants.

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