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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Nov;211(5):519.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.05.037. Epub 2014 May 29.

Effect of umbilical cord milking on morbidity and survival in extremely low gestational age neonates.

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Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT. Electronic address:
Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.
Department of Nursing, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT.
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.



Delayed umbilical cord clamping benefits extremely low gestational age neonates (ELGANs) but has not gained wide acceptance. We hypothesized that milking the umbilical cord (MUC) would avoid resuscitation delay but improve hemodynamic stability and reduce rates for composite outcome of severe intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, and/or death before discharge.


We implemented a joint neonatal/maternal-fetal quality improvement process for MUC starting September 2011. The MUC protocol specified that infants who were born at <30 weeks of gestation undergo MUC 3 times over a duration of <30 seconds at delivery. Obstetric and neonatal data were collected until discharge. We compared the MUC group to retrospective ELGAN cohort delivered at our center between January 2010 and August 2011. Analysis was intention-to-treat.


We identified 318 ELGANs: 158 eligible for MUC and 160 retrospective control neonates. No adverse events were reported with cord milking. There was no difference in neonatal resuscitation, Apgar scores, or admission temperature. Hemodynamic stability was improved in the MUC group with higher mean blood pressures through 24 hours of age, despite less vasopressor use (18% vs 32%; P < .01). The initial hematocrit value was higher (50% vs 45%; P < .01), and red cell transfusions were fewer (57% vs 79%; P < .01) in MUC vs control infants. Presence of the composite outcome was significantly less in MUC vs the historic control infants (22% v 39%; odds ratio, 1.81; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-3.10). There were also reductions in intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, and death before hospital discharge.


MUC improves early hemodynamic stability and is associated with lower rates of serious morbidity and death among ELGANs.


delayed cord clamping; extremely low gestational age neonates (ELGANs); intraventricular hemorrhage; mortality rate; necrotizing enterocolitis; umbilical cord milking

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