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This Delay Could Save Lives

Studies show benefits of delayed umbilical cord clamping.

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Waiting just 60 seconds before clamping babies’ umbilical cords after birth could save thousands of preterm babies’ lives, according to two studies coordinated by the National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre (ctc.usyd.edu.au), and presented at the Vermont Oxford Network (VON) 2017 Annual Quality Congress in Chicago.

University of Sydney researchers compared delayed versus immediate cord clamping in nearly 3,000 babies born before 37 weeks. They found clear evidence that delayed clamping reduced hospital death rates by one third.

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“We estimate that for every thousand very preterm babies born more than 10 weeks early, delayed clamping will save up to 100 additional lives compared with immediate clamping,” says David Osborn, associate professor at the University of Sydney, neonatal specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the review’s lead author.

The review also reported that delayed clamping reduced the need for subsequent blood transfusions and increased newborn babies’ red blood cell levels.

“This procedure costs nothing and will make a difference to families worldwide,” says Roger Soll, professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and co-author of the Australian Placental Transfusion Study.

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