Midwife Kath Mifsud with IHMRI's Professor Ian Wright.

An IHMRI researcher has contributed to an important study into the benefits of delaying umbilical cord clamping by 60 seconds

Two recently published studies suggest thousands of preterm babies could be saved by waiting one minute before clamping the umbilical cord instead of immediately.

Most premature babies will begin breathing by 60 seconds on their own and doctors have found delayed cord clamping may reduce unnecessary and potentially harmful interventions.

IHMRI’s Professor Ian Wright and UOW Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health Research contributed to the “Delayed versus immediate cord clamping in preterm babies” study first published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read the full paper.

“These sorts of studies, involving many families and researchers around the world, can provide answers to simple questions that can improve the lives for future children. Without the help of all those families we would not be able to improve the care that we deliver” Professor Ian Wright said.

The sudy involved 1,566 babies born more than ten weeks early in 25 hospitals across seven countries.

A second study involving doctors from the University of Sydney published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, assessed morbidity and mortality outcomes from the New England Journal of Medicine study plus 17 previous trials. Read the accepted manuscript.

It found clear evidence that delayed clamping reduced hospital mortality by a third and is safe for mothers and pre-term infants.

The authors reported a 6.4 per cent mortality rate in the delayed clamping group compared to 9 per cent mortality rate in the immediate clamping group.

The review also reported that delayed clamping reduced the need for blood transfusions.

Information for parents

Parents who want to know more can visit the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre website for frequently asked questions about the Australian Placental Transfusion Study.

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