HealthDay News — According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, delayed umbilical cord clamping reduces anemia at 8 and 12 months of age for infants at high risk of iron deficiency anemia.

Ashish KC, MD, PhD, from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 540 late preterm and term infants born vaginally at a tertiary hospital in Nepal. 

Infants were randomized to delayed umbilical cord clamping (≥180 seconds after delivery) or early clamping (≤60 seconds after delivery) and underwent follow-up


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These included blood levels of hemoglobin and ferritin at 8 and 12 months of age.

The researchers found that infants undergoing delayed clamping had higher levels of hemoglobin after multiple imputation analysis (10.4 versus 10.2 g/dL). Delayed cord clamping also correlated with a reduction in the prevalence of anemia at 8 months (73.0 versus 82.2%; relative risk, 0.89; number needed to treat [NNT], 11).

The delayed clamping group had a reduced risk for iron deficiency at 8 months (22.2 versus 38.1%; relative risk, 0.58; NNT, 6). Delayed cord clamping resulted in a 0.3 g/dL higher hemoglobin level, and a relative risk for anemia of 0.91, resulting in a NNT of 12 at 12 months.

“Delayed cord clamping reduces anemia at 8 and 12 months of age in a high-risk population, which may have major positive effects on infants’ health and development,” the authors write.

Reference

KC A, et al. “Effects of Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping vs Early Clamping on Anemia in Infants at 8 and 12 Months: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Pediatr. 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.3971. [Epub ahead of print]

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