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Delayed clamping of the umbilical cord does no harm and reduces anaemia in newborns

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 11 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:0-e

Research question Is it safe to delay clamping the cord in newborn babies?

Answer Probably. A delay of up to three minutes does no serious harm and reduces the incidence of anaemia in newborns.

Why did the authors do the study? To inform an ongoing debate about the relative risks and benefits of waiting for a few minutes before clamping and cutting a baby's umbilical cord. Although the baby may benefit from an extra placental transfusion, observational work suggests there's a risk of respiratory distress, polycythaemia, and hyperbilirubinaemia.

What did they do? They designed a randomised trial to test the hypothesis that, compared with “immediate” clamping (within 15 seconds of birth), a delay in clamping …

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