Hāpai Te Hauora says "ground-breaking" new research on umbilical cord clamping simply reflects traditional Māori birthing practices. The research, reported this week by Newshub, champions the benefits of waiting for at least a minute to cut a premature baby’s umbilical cord. The findings highlight how delayed clamping can allow for a better survival rate for premature babies. While the study advocates that this become a normalised practice across the sector, it has been something some midwives have long implemented in their care for mum and baby.
"This yet another example of a natural birthing practice being hampered by medicalisation. It’s great that delayed clamping is being recognised for its benefits, but I take my hat off to those midwives and nurses that have already been doing this for years" says Hāpai Te Hauora SUDI manager, Fay Selby- Law.
Delaying the cutting of umbilical cords was common practice within Te Ao Māori prior to the medicalisation of birth in Aotearoa. "For Māori this is nothing new, as with many practices such as leaving the placenta and umbilical cord intact to allow for oxygen and nutrients to pass to the baby" says midwife Amanda Douglas.
Of interest to Hāpai Te Hauora, is how we can continue to find solutions from evidence-based medicine and also look to the insights of traditional Māori health practices to inform best practice across health sector. "We know that Māori babies can be at higher risk of poor health outcomes, so how can we reclaim existing birthing practices like wahakura to ensure that all babies can be given the best care possible?" says CEO Lance Norman. Hāpai supports an evidence-based approach to medicine, but we believe this is compatible with the rich heritage of mātauranga Māori.