At the moment they are advised to clamp the cord within 30 seconds of birth, because of the risk of babies receiving too much of a synthetic hormone given to mothers to aid childbirth. It was also believed cord-clamping within seconds of delivery reduced the chance of jaundice.
However, the Royal College of Midwives is now preparing to change its guidance so that most babies will have the cord clamped between three and five minutes after birth. The new guidance, which is still being finalised, is due to be published in November.
[Related article: Midwives deserve our admiration on International Women's Day]
The move comes due to a growing number of studies, which have indicated that delayed clamping tends to benefit the baby.
An American study of 1,700 infants, published in 2007, concluded that a two-minute delay halved the chance of anaemia.
And a Swedish study found that delaying cord clamping for three minutes after birth reduced the chance of iron deficiency in four-month-old babies from six to one per cent, with no increase in jaundice or other complications previously linked to delayed clamping.
[Related article: Mums to be to get a 'named midwife' before and after birth]
Mervi Jokinen, from the RCM, said the review would recommend midwives clamped and cut the cord “within three to five minutes” of birth.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) currently recommends clamping within 30 seconds, although an update is expected in 2014.
Last year the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists updated its guidance to recommend the cord "should not be clamped earlier than necessary, based on a clinical assessment of the situation”.
More from the Telegraph.