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Representational Image.Jenny Lee Silver/Flickr

The extra minutes, a baby remains attached to the umbilical cord after coming out from mother's womb, can help improve its health in the early stages of growth, latest research shows.

Usually, doctors cut and clamp the umbilical cord within seconds after the baby's birth. However, according to a team of researchers from Spain, delaying the procedure by two minutes offers additional health benefits to the baby, as it helps improve its resistance to oxidative stress.

The study looked at 64 women, with normal pregnancy and birth. Researchers divided the women into two groups according to the time their babies were detached from the umbilical cord, either after 10 seconds or two minutes.

Researchers from the University of Granada and San Cecilio Clinical Hospital in Spain found that delayed cord clamping increased antioxidant capacity and also reduced the inflammatory effects of induced birth.

"Our study demonstrates that late clamping of the umbilical cord has a beneficial effect upon the antioxidant capacity and reduces the inflammatory signal induced during labour, which could improve the development of the newborn during his or her first days of life," professor Julio José Ochoa Herrera, from the University of Granada, said in a statement.

Umbilical cord helps connect a baby to its mother in the uterus and also helps in transferring oxygen, food and blood from the placenta to the baby. Studies have shown that waiting some time before cutting the umbilical cord improved blood and iron levels in the baby.

However, a July-2013 study reported some risk associated with late clamping. An Australian study published in The Cochrane Library found that delaying the clamping after 60 seconds slightly increased risk of jaundice in babies.

A new birth concept known as "Lotus Birth" recommends a total ban on the cutting and clamping of the umbilical cord, on the other hand, urges parents to wait until it comes off naturally from the placenta. Advocates say that this will improve baby's future health and protects the baby from infections in the future.

Details of the current study can be found in Pediatrics.