Delays to clamping the umbilical cord of about a minute can reduce hospital mortality for preterm infants by around 32%. Delayed clamping also reduced the proportion of infants needing a blood transfusion by 10%.
This review adds more precise data on survival from new trials including a large Australian trial (over 1,600 babies) to a previous Cochrane 2012 review of trails including 738 infants and provides new more precise data on the survival benefit.
These findings are consistent with current guidelines which recommend delayed clamping in preterm infants.
“Cheap, quick and effective interventions in medicine are rare, but delayed clamping of the umbilical cord at birth appears to be just that.
A systematic review of 18 trials including almost 3,000 preterm babies confirms that delaying cord clamping by 60 seconds reduces mortality before hospital discharge. It also makes it less likely that babies will need blood transfusions, and there is no apparent increase in morbidity for mother or baby.
On a worldwide scale, given the large number of babies born before 37 weeks of gestation, the potential benefits of waiting patiently for just one minute are huge.”
Dr Elaine Boyle, Associate Professor in Neonatal Medicine, University of Leicester; Honorary Consultant Neonatologist, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
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