Delayed cord clamping practice at birth: A narrative review of literature

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2022 Oct;277:116-121. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2022.08.024. Epub 2022 Sep 5.


Background: Anaemia in infants is a major public health concern particularly in low and middle-income countries. Delayed cord clamping (DCC) has been advocated as a strategy to decrease iron deficiency anaemia in infants because of the benefits that come with placental transfusion. Despite the documented benefits of delayed cord clamping in preventing anaemia the current practices of delayed cord clamping by midwives and obstetricians across countries and in different contexts is unclear. This narrative review assesses the literature on delayed cord clamping practices published from 2013 to February 2022, in order to examine current practice in birth units globally, and with a focus in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Method: A search of four bibliographic databases Medline, Scopus (Elsevier), ProQuest, CINAHL and two network and search engines, Wiley and Google Scholar, was undertaken from 2013 to February 2022 using key terms related to delayed cord clamping and immediate cord clamping. A snowball method as well as backward and forward reference checking was also undertaken.

Results: The search strategy identified 10 studies on umbilical cord clamping practices by midwives and obstetricians. Only two studies were conducted in low and middle-income countries.

Conclusion: Despite the potential benefits of DCC in reducing anaemia, particularly in low and middle-income countries where the burden of anaemia is a public health concern, there is a paucity of literature on current DCC practices by obstetricians and midwives. Research to establish current DCC practices in these countries is needed to address this gap in the literature.

Keywords: Delayed cord clamping; Immediate cord clamping; Midwives; Obstetricians; Practice; Term and preterm.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors
  • Umbilical Cord Clamping
  • Umbilical Cord* / surgery