The early effects of delayed cord clamping in term infants born to Libyan mothers.

Original article


Emhamed MO, van Rheenen P, Brabin BJ.

Child and Reproductive Health Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.

Trop Doct. 2004 Oct;34(4):218-22.


This study was conducted to evaluate the haematological effects of the timing of umbilical cord clamping in term infants 24 h after birth in Libya. Mother-infant pairs were randomly assigned to early cord clamping (within 10s after delivery) or delayed clamping (after the cord stopped pulsating). Maternal haematological status was assessed on admission in the delivery room. Infant haematological status was evaluated in cord blood and 24 h after birth. Bilirubin concentration was assessed at 24 h. 104 mother-infant pairs were randomized to delayed (n=58) or early cord clamping (n=46). At baseline the groups had similar demographic and biomedical characteristics, except for a difference in maternal haemoglobin, which was significantly higher in the early clamping group (11.7 g/dL, SD 1.3 g/dL versus 10.9 g/dL, SD 1.6 g/dL; P=0.0035). Twenty-four hours after delivery the mean infant haemoglobin level was significantly higher in the delayed clamping group (18.5 g/dL versus 17.1 g/dL; P=0.0005). No significant differences were found in clinical jaundice or plethora. Surprisingly, blood analysis showed that two babies in the early clamping group had total serum bilirubin levels (> 15 mg/dL) that necessitated phototherapy. There were no babies in the late clamping group who required phototherapy. Three infants in the delayed clamping group had polycythaemia without symptoms, for which no partial exchange transfusion was necessary. Delaying cord clamping until the pulsations stop increases the red cell mass in term infants. It is a safe, simple and low cost delivery procedure that should be incorporated in integrated programmes aimed at reducing iron deficiency anaemia in infants in developing countries.

Keywords: delayed cord clamping ,Umbilical Cord,Infant,Polycythemia