(HealthDay News) — Delayed clamping of the umbilical cord benefits extremely premature newborns, according to a study published online September 24 in the Journal of Perinatology.

Carl Backes, MD, a cardiologist and neonatologist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, and colleagues looked at 40 infants who were born between 22–27 weeks of gestation, and had an average birth weight of 1.4 pounds.

The researchers found that, compared to those whose umbilical cords were immediately clamped, those whose cords were clamped 30–45 seconds after birth had higher blood pressure readings in the first 24 hours of life and required fewer red blood cell transfusions in the first 28 days of life. Delayed clamping had no effect on the safety of an infant immediately after delivery.

“Further research is needed in both of these infant populations to see whether the short-term benefits translate to reductions in long-term” health problems, Backes said in a hospital news release. “The early results are promising, though.”

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