Guideline No. 424: Umbilical Cord Management in Preterm and Term Infants

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2022 Mar;44(3):313-322.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2022.01.007.


Objective: To assess the impact of deferred (delayed) cord clamping (DCC) and umbilical cord milking in singleton and twin gestations on maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

Target population: People who are pregnant with preterm or term singletons or twins.

Benefits, harms, and costs: In preterm singletons, DCC for (ideally) 60 to 120 seconds, but at least for 30 seconds, reduces infant risk of mortality and morbidity. DCC in preterm twins is associated with some benefits. In term singletons, DCC for 60 seconds improves hematological parameters. In very preterm infants, umbilical cord milking increases risk for intraventricular hemorrhage.

Evidence: Searches of Medline, PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library from inception to March 2020 were undertaken using Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms and key words related to deferred cord clamping and umbilical cord milking. This document represents an abstraction of the evidence rather than a methodological review.

Validation methods: The authors rated the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. See online Appendix A (Tables A1 for definitions and A2 for interpretations of strong and conditional [weak] recommendations).

Intended users: Maternity and newborn care providers.

Keywords: infant; jaundice; ligation; neonatal; parturition; premature; term birth; time factors; umbilical cord; umbilical cord blood.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Constriction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases*
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors
  • Umbilical Cord / surgery