COMPARISON OF EARLY AND DELAYED UMBILICAL CORD CLAMPING IN THE THIRD STAGE OF LABOUR
Background: Umbilical cord clamping in the third stage of labour is still controversial. Early cord clamping is defined as clamping at 10, 15, 30 or 60 seconds after delivery and delayed as clamping after 60 seconds or at 2-5 minutes after delivery, when the cord stops pulsating or when the placenta is visible within the birth canal. Early clamping is one of the three components of active management of the third stage of labour, which has been used widely in modern obstetrics during the last century. However, in some northern European countries, various parts of the USA and Canada and in developing countries physiological management is preferred.
Conclusions: After publication of several trials describing advantages of delayed clamping, this has recently been progressively replacing early clamping. The most important advantages of delayed cord clamping are higher haemoglobin and ferritin levels, higher iron stores, lower incidence of iron deficiency anaemia, better cardiopulmonary adaptation, lower rate of respiratory distress syndrome, and longer duration of early breastfeeding in term neonates, while there is no increase in the incidence of postpartum haemorrhage. Delayed clamping seems to bring some advantages for preterm neonates as well. However, caution is still advised because of the potential adverse effects, especially polycythaemia with hyperviscosity, hyperbilirubinaemia and respiratory distress.
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