New research: Delayed cord clamping reduces risk of preterm infant death by up to 66% (so why aren’t we doing it?)

Toni Harman
8 min readDec 6, 2023

2 new studies published in The Lancet found waiting for at least 2 minutes to clamp the umbilical cord of preterm babies could decrease risk of infant death by up to 66%. The question is: Why aren’t we doing it?

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New research: Delayed cord clamping reduces risk of preterm infant death by up to 66% (so why aren’t we doing it?)
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I have a bee in my bonnet.

We have known for years that delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord can benefit all babies.

Now 2 new studies published in The Lancet make it very clear that an intervention is urgently needed — to change routine hospital practice to follow the latest evidence-based research.

The two companion systematic reviews and meta-analysis published in The Lancet found waiting for at least 2 mins to clamp the umbilical cord of preterm babies could decrease risk of preterm infant death by up to 66%.

The studies included researchers from the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Australia.

The study authors say around the world, each year:

  • Almost 13 million babies are born preterm.
  • Nearly 1 million of those babies die shortly after birth.

Imagine the difference we could make to health outcomes if everyone everywhere followed the evidence, and practiced optimal cord clamping — and waited at least 2 minutes before clamping the cord?

This blog-article discusses the results of the latest research and makes an argument that maternity care needs to change to incorporate the latest research.

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Toni Harman

I help parents and health professionals better understand the science of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and the microbiome. https://linktr.ee/toniharman