Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Benefits of delaying umbilical cord clamping

The BBC should not normalise practices that harm babies

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 27 February 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q464
  1. Susan Bewley, emeritus professor (honorary) in obstetrics and women’s health1,
  2. Heike Rabe, neonatologist2,
  3. Amanda Burleigh, independent midwifery consultant3,
  4. David Hutchon, retired consultant obstetrician4,
  5. Catherine P James, honorary lecturer5
  1. 1Department of Women and Children’s Health, King’s College London, London, UK
  2. 2Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK
  3. 3Leeds, UK
  4. 4Sheffield, UK
  5. 5UCL Institute for Women’s Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. susan.bewley{at}

The nation’s favourite television programme, Call the Midwife, is rightly proud of its close attention to detail, yet shows the ahistorical (but safe) practice of putting babies into their cots back to back. This is presumably so the programme does not mislead viewers about a practice endorsed for decades by Dr Spock that led to thousands of sudden infant deaths—of putting babies to sleep on their front.

Another recent routine—of “early” (or rather, unindicated) cord …

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