Comparison of Three Methods of Umbilical Cord Management in Late Preterm and Term Newborns on Hemoglobin and Ferritin Levels at Six Weeks of Age: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Cureus. 2024 Apr 26;16(4):e59046. doi: 10.7759/cureus.59046. eCollection 2024 Apr.


Background: Umbilical cord milking (UCM) and delayed cord clamping (DCC) are strategies that improve the hemodynamic condition of the newborn and also increase the storage of iron. This study aimed to compare the effects of DCC with or without milking in late preterm and term neonates at different time intervals after birth (60, 120, and 180 seconds) on hematological and hemodynamic parameters in neonates at six weeks of age.

Materials and methods: In this double-arm, parallel-group, triple-blind, and active-controlled trial, all 150 eligible neonates were randomized with allocation concealment into three groups: Group A (DCC with UCM at 60 seconds), Group B (DCC with UCM at 120 seconds), and Group C (only DCC for 180 seconds). Hemodynamic parameters were recorded and compared during the first 48 hours, and hematological parameters were compared at six weeks of age.

Results: At six weeks, a significant difference in hemoglobin levels was noted between Groups A, B, and C (p<0.001). The difference in serum ferritin values at six weeks was also statistically significant in comparisons across all three groups (p=0.003). Regarding secondary outcomes examined, hemodynamic parameters and the incidence of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia were found to be comparable at 48 hours after birth.

Conclusion: DCC followed by UCM at 120 seconds and DCC till 180 seconds proves superior to DCC with UCM at 60 seconds in preserving elevated hemoglobin levels and iron stores in neonates at six weeks of age. DCC for 180 seconds yielded comparable results, followed by UCM at 120 seconds. All three methods are considered safe and effective without compromising the neonate's hemodynamics.

Keywords: delayed cord clamping; hemoglobin; newborn; serum ferritin; umbilical cord milking.