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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2012 Nov;32(8):724-9. doi: 10.3109/01443615.2012.721030.

Immediate or early cord clamping vs delayed clamping.

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Memorial Hospital, Darlington, UK.


Over the past 40 years, there have been a number of review articles attempting to rationalise cord clamping practice. Early cord clamping was originally thought to be important in active management of the third stage of labour, but this was never evidence based. Without an evidence base to justify it, early cord clamping in clinical practice has remained very variable. There is good evidence that early cord clamping leads to hypovolaemia, anaemia and low iron stores in the neonate. We review all the evidence and discuss possible reasons why some obstetricians and midwives persevere with early clamping. We explain how a variable definition, defective education, deferred responsibility between obstetrician and paediatrician, variable guidelines and a lack of appreciation for the potential harm of the intervention, have all contributed. This study describes how the need for early cord clamping can be avoided in practically all clinical complications of birth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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