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No harm in delaying umbilical cord clamping

Early or late clamping the umbilical cord causes no difference for mothers in terms of blood loss risk, according to a Cochrane Review of 11 trials involving 2,989 mothers.

Delaying clamping for up to three minutes also increased the infant’s iron levels during the first six months of its life, said the authors. But they warned that this might increase the risk of needing phototherapy to treat jaundice, as the newborn’s liver was slow to breakdown red blood cells.

‘If there is access to phototherapy treatment, there would appear to be no additional risk in delaying clamping the cord in healthy term infants, particularly as this appears to boost the infant’s stores of iron,’ said the Australian authors.

The Cochrane Library (2008)

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