Umbilical cord clamping practices of U.S. obstetricians

BACKGROUND: Delayed umbilical cord clamping is associated with significant benefits to preterm and term newborns and is recommended for all infants by the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Little is known about the cord management practices of U.S. obstetricians.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to describe current cord clamping practices by U.S. obstetricians and investigate factors associated with delayed cord clamping.
STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey was sent to 500 members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Umbilical cord practices were assessed, and factors related to delaying cord clamping were examined using Chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression models.
RESULTS: The overall response rate was 37% with 74% of those opening the email responding. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported DCC by one minute or more after vaginal births at term. After preterm and near-term vaginal births, 73% and 79% said they waited at least 30 seconds before clamping. The factor most consistently and strongly related to delaying cord clamping in both bivariate and multivariate analyses was having the belief that the timing of clamping was important. Additional analysis revealed that believing the timing was important was positively associated with the physician’s institution having a written policy on the cord clamping.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, a majority of respondents reported delaying cord clamping and indicated that employing strategies to implement the full uptake of this practice could be valuable. Findings suggest that institutional policies may influence attitudes on cord clamping.

*Corresponding Author: 

Mayri Sagady Leslie, George Washington University, School of Nursing, 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20006, USA. Tel.: +1 619 743 4989; E-mail: