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RCOG statement on Cochrane Review on the timing of cord clamping

News 11 July 2013

A new systematic review by the Cochrane Library published today shows that delayed cord clamping results in increased haemoglobin concentration and iron stores in babies. However, researchers also found that babies who had later cord clamping had a small risk of jaundice, requiring phototherapy.

Mr Patrick O’Brien, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said:

“The RCOG recommends that the umbilical cord should not be clamped earlier than is necessary. This new study adds to the emerging evidence showing benefits to delayed cord clamping, a minute after birth or when cord pulsation has ceased.

“However, in some instances, early clamping may be required, such as when the mother is suffering heavy blood loss immediately after childbirth, or in some cases when the baby needs immediate resuscitation, so the decision on when to cut the cord must be based on the clinical assessment of the situation.

“If delayed cord clamping is introduced in units, this review has highlighted the increased need for phototherapy when significant jaundice is detected.”

To read the review 'Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes', click here.


Rabe H, Diaz-Rossello JL, Duley L, Dowswell T. Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping and other strategies to influence placental transfusion at preterm birth on maternal and infant outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD003248. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003248.pub3.