Italian recommendations for placental transfusion strategies

Stefano Ghirardello, Mariarosaria Di Tommaso, Stefano Fiocchi, Anna Locatelli, Barbara Perrone, Simone Pratesi, Paola Saracco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


At delivery, if the cord is not clamped, blood continues to pass from the placenta to the newborn during the first minutes of life, allowing the transfer of 25-35 ml/kg of placental blood to the newborn, depending on gestational age, the timing of cord clamping, the position of the infant at birth, the onset of respiration, and administration of uterotonics to the mother. However, deriving benefits from delayed cord clamping (DCC) are not merely related to placental-to-fetal blood transfusion; establishing spontaneous ventilation before cutting the cord improves venous return to the right heart and pulmonary blood flow, protecting the newborn from the transient low cardiac output, and systemic arterial pressure fluctuations. Recent meta-analyses showed that delayed cord clamping reduces mortality and red blood cell transfusions in preterm newborns and increases iron stores in term newborns. Various authors suggested umbilical cord milking (UCM) as a safe alternative when delayed cord clamping is not feasible. Many scientific societies recommend waiting 30-60 s before clamping the cord for both term and preterm newborns not requiring resuscitation. To improve the uptake of placental transfusion strategies, in 2016 an Italian Task Force for the Management of Umbilical Cord Clamping drafted national recommendations for the management of cord clamping in term and preterm deliveries. The task force performed a detailed review of the literature using the GRADEmethodological approach. The document analyzed all clinical scenarios that operators could deal with in the delivery room, including cord blood gas analysis during delayed cord clamping and time to cord clamping in the case of umbilical cord blood banking. The panel intended to promote a more physiological and individualized approach to cord clamping, specifically for the most preterm newborn. A feasible option to implement delayed cord clamping in very preterm deliveries is to move the neonatologist to the mother's bedside to assess the newborn's clinical condition at birth. This option could safely guarantee the first steps of stabilization before clamping the cord and allow DCC in the first 30 s of life, without delaying resuscitation. Contra-indications to placental transfusion strategies are clinical situations that may endanger mother 's health and those that may delay immediate newborn's resuscitation when required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number372
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Cord blood banking
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • HIV pregnancy
  • Neonatal resuscitation
  • Preterm newborn
  • Recommendation
  • Twin
  • Umbilical cord milking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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