Deferred umbilical cord clamping could save many premature infants

Deferred umbilical cord clamping could save many premature infants
Dr. Abhay Lodha, MD, neonatologist and associate professor in the departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Credit: University of Calgary

New research shows delayed umbilical cord clamping improves survival and reduces risk of brain injury in extremely premature infants.

A baby's is typically clamped and cut immediately after birth. Over the years, emerging research has suggested there may be benefits to delaying umbilical cord clamping in term neonates. However it was not clear if this intervention would also have benefits on the survival of extremely low gestational age preterm neonates.

In a new study published in JAMA Network Open, neonatologist Dr. Abhay Lodha, MD, and his research team found for the first time that delaying umbilical cord clamping in extremely preterm babies improves their survival. It also lowers the odds of severe neurological injury in the form of an intraventricular hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain.

"Delaying cord clamping allows time for the baby's to stabilize," says Lodha, associate professor in the departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute. "As premature babies' brain vessels are quite fragile, a rapid change in blood pressure can rupture their blood vessels, causing a brain hemorrhage."

In this , researchers analyzed the outcomes of 4,680 neonates across Canada who were born at 22 to 28 weeks and were admitted to a neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The study suggests deferred umbilical cord clamping (DCC) leads to circulatory stability, which improves blood pressure and reduces the need for transfusions.

The researchers also found DCC reduced the risk of infection by allowing the newborn to receive more nutrient- and immune cell-rich from the mother.

"As long as the baby is stable at the time of birth, we recommend delaying umbilical cord clamping for 30 to 60 seconds," says Lodha. "This is a simple intervention that could reduce the need for medication to treat hypotension, reduce the risk of infections, and improves the baby's survival. We hope this new information will have a global impact, especially in developing countries, and save many premature neonates."

Going forward, the research team plans to study the long term neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm neonates who received DCC at birth.


Explore further

Clamping the umbilical cord straight after birth is bad for a baby's health

More information: Abhay Lodha et al. Association of Deferred vs Immediate Cord Clamping With Severe Neurological Injury and Survival in Extremely Low-Gestational-Age Neonates, JAMA Network Open (2019). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.1286
Journal information: JAMA Network Open

Citation: Deferred umbilical cord clamping could save many premature infants (2019, April 2) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-deferred-umbilical-cord-clamping-premature.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
238 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more