Effect of Delayed Cord Clamping on Neurodevelopment at 3 Years: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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INTRODUCTION: Iron deficiency (ID) is associated with poor neurodevelopment. We have previously shown that delayed umbilical cord clamping (CC) improves iron stores at 8 months and neurodevelopment at 1 year in term, healthy infants in Nepal.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of delayed CC (≥180 s) compared to early CC (≤60 s) on neurodevelopment using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) at age 3 years.

METHODS: In 2014, 540 healthy Nepalese infants born at term were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to delayed or early CC. At 3 years of age, ASQ assessment was performed by phone interviews with parents. A score >1 standard deviation below the mean was defined as "at risk" for developmental impairment.

RESULTS: At 3 years of age, 350 children were followed up, 170 (63.0%) in the early CC group and 180 (66.7%) in the delayed CC group. No significant differences in ASQ scores in any domains between groups were found. However, more girls were "at risk" for affected gross motor development in the early CC group: 14 (18.9%) versus 6 (6.3%), p = 0.02.

CONCLUSION: There were no significant differences in ASQ scores in any domains between groups. In the subgroup analysis, fewer girls who underwent delayed CC were "at risk" for delayed gross motor development. Due to the pronounced difference in iron stores at 8 months postpartum in this cohort, follow-up studies at an older age are motivated since neurodevelopmental impairment after early ID may be more detectable with increasing age.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Sachs’ Children Hospital
  • Södersjukhuset
  • Golden Community
  • Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021 May 7
Publication categoryResearch