When to Cut the Umbilical Cord, Advises FM MU Graduate in Her Award-winning Bachelor Thesis

Anna Jašová, a student of the Faculty of Medicine at Masaryk University, won the national competition for the best bachelor's thesis in the Midwifery programme.

6 Dec 2022

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The Czech Chamber of Midwives announced the competition for the fifth time, and this year's participation was the highest ever, with graduates from nine universities taking part. The main criterion for evaluating the works is their practical contribution to midwifery.

Anna Jašová, who followed up on the success of her classmate Tereza Janečková from 2020, impressed the eight-member evaluation committee by elaborating the topic "When is it optimal to cut the umbilical cord after physiological childbirth". Although this issue is not much discussed at the moment, the debate about it is becoming stronger. Also considering that the correct procedure and timing of umbilical cord rupture can significantly benefit the course of the third stage of labour, as well as the adaptation of the newborn and its later development.

The following three questions were answered by Radka Wilhelmová, the supervisor of the bachelor thesis, who is also the guarantor of the midwifery study programme at FM MU.

What do you see as the main importance and contribution of the award-winning text?
This is a bachelor thesis that presents a successful literature review on the topic "Timing of umbilical cord rupture in the newborn after birth". The findings of the study may support the modification of standard obstetric practice and enable safe evidence-based practice choices. This is from a professional perspective. From the point of view of theoretical professional training of students, it is then necessary to see the benefit in the fact that our students are at a very good level in conducting literature reviews and identifying appropriate professional sources. This probably contributed to the evaluation of the thesis as the best in the Czech Republic.

The output of the thesis is a recommendation for clinical practice. What is the current practice or methodology when it comes to umbilical cord cutting? What do doctors and nurses follow?
In general, information about the options for established procedures given to women by health professionals is often inconsistent (regardless of the specific topic), generating uncertainty for the woman and her subsequent lack of confidence in the competence of health professionals. The findings of the bachelor thesis can be a first step towards unifying the information given as well as the procedures, allowing the birthing women to make an informed and simultaneously accepted choice of medical procedure by the health professionals. Thus, it is not a simplistic single recommendation, but possible alternatives and appropriate procedures are presented, corresponding to the specific situation and needs of the woman as well as the possibilities of clinical practice.

How can the basis of such work be made more widely known and the final recommendations actually put into practice?
The evidence found and described needs to be communicated, ideally on a wider professional platform. For example, writing an article in a journal, creating an information leaflet or brochure, or presenting the topic at a conference. Another item I see as very important is close and effective cooperation between educators and clinical practitioners involved in the training of future health professionals. Last but not least, the motivation and synergy of health professionals at different levels of management is essential in promoting change in practice. In this particular case, the fact that the work was judged to be the best at the national level is a great opportunity for the possibility of further dissemination and sharing or dissemination of information.

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