A randomised controlled trial comparing umbilical cord milking to delayed cord clamping at birth in preterm infants 28-36 weeks gestational age

Eur J Pediatr. 2024 Jun;183(6):2791-2796. doi: 10.1007/s00431-024-05550-2. Epub 2024 Apr 6.


Delayed cord clamping (DCC) is an established practice in perinatology with multiple benefits. However, in instances where the implementation of DCC is not viable, it needs alternatives, especially during caesarean deliveries. A non-inferiority randomized, non-blinded, trial was conducted at a tertiary care referral unit in South India among the preterm newborns (28-36 weeks) randomized to DCC as opposed to intact-umbilical cord milking (UCM). The primary objective was to compare the mean haemoglobin values between the two groups, and the secondary outcome was to compare death and/or major IVH (> Grade II). Of the 132 eligible newborn infants, 99 were randomized to two study groups. Of the 59 and 40 randomised to UCM and DCC, 54 and 36 received the allocated intervention respectively. Preterm infants who underwent UCM had significantly higher haemoglobin (19.97 ± 1.44) as compared to DCC group (18.62 ± 0.98) p-0.0001. The rates of mortality and/or major IVH were comparable between the two groups.

Conclusion: UCM may be a feasible alternative to DCC especially in settings where the latter is not achievable, without increasing the risk of adverse effects to the preterm infants, this finding needing further confirmation with larger sample.

Trial registration: CTRI (Clinical Trial Registry-India) registration number: CTRI/2020/04/024566 (registered prospectively on 13/04/2020).

What is known: • Delayed cord clamping (DCC) is recommended as a standard of care for all the stable term and preterm newborn babies at birth.

What is new: • Intact umbilical cord milking may be a reasonable choice of cord management when DCC is unsuccessful, without increasing adverse effects for the new born.

Keywords: Cord milking; Delayed cord clamping; Haemoglobin; Prematurity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Constriction
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors
  • Umbilical Cord
  • Umbilical Cord Clamping* / methods