Delayed Cord Clamping Tied to Improved Neonatal Iron Status

Higher ferritin concentration, reduced prevalence of iron deficiency at age 4 months

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Delayed cord clamping is associated with improved iron status and reduced prevalence of iron deficiency at 4 months of age, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in BMJ.

Ola Andersson, M.D., from the Hospital of Halland in Halmstad, Sweden, and colleagues compared the effect of delayed (≥180 seconds after delivery) and early (≤10 seconds after delivery) umbilical cord clamping on infant iron status at 4 months of age in 400 full-term infants. Hemoglobin and iron status at 4 months of age were the main outcome measures. Neonatal anemia, early respiratory symptoms, polycythemia, and the need for phototherapy were included as secondary outcomes.

The investigators found that, at 4 months, infants who had been subjected to delayed cord clamping had 45 percent higher mean ferritin concentration and a significantly lower prevalence of iron deficiency (relative risk reduction, 0.90) than those who had early clamping. Hemoglobin concentrations did not differ significantly between the groups. The prevalence of anemia at 2 days of age was significantly lower in the delayed cord clamping group (relative risk reduction, 0.80). There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to the other secondary outcomes.

"Delayed cord clamping, in this randomized controlled trial, resulted in improved ferritin levels and reduced the prevalence of iron deficiency at 4 months of age," the authors write. "Delayed clamping also reduced the prevalence of neonatal anemia at 2 days of age without increasing the rate of respiratory symptoms or need for phototherapy."

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