Background and eligibility

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Who is eligible?

Who may not be eligible?






Most preterm babies have the umbilical cord clamped within 10 seconds of birth. Placental transfusion is a simple way of giving the baby extra blood at birth by delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord by 60 seconds or more.

There is promising evidence from randomised trials that placental transfusion in babies less than 37 weeks of pregnancy may improve their blood pressure, reduce the number of blood transfusions needed and decrease bleeding into the brain, bowel disease and infection. However, we not know if babies born before 30 weeks of pregnancy benefit or if placental transfusion increases or decreases death or childhood disability. Despite this uncertainty more doctors are recommending that all very preterm babies are given a placental transfusion at birth. It is important to find out if placental transfusion does more good than harm, before it becomes even more widely used.

Download a copy of the protocol here


Who is eligible?

  • mother considered likely to deliver  < 30 weeks of gestation (29 6 weeks)
  • informed consent has been received from a parent

Who may not be eligible?

You may not be eligible if there is an indication or contraindication to placental transfusion, in view of parent or doctor. Contraindications may include but not limited to

  • fetal haemolytic disease
  • fetal hydrops
  • major malformations considered incompatible with survival


Evaluation of severe disability will be assessed by a short paediatric questionnaire when participants are 18 - 24 months of age. These data can be filled out from routine hospital assessments including for example the Ages and Stages questionnaire. 

One of the following is required in order to determine severe disability:

  1. Ages and Stages score indicative of developmental delay
  2. Cerebral Palsy
  3. Blindness
  4. Deafness
  5. Major problems with language or speech

The study will keep in touch with parents via phone calls and post to send updates, birthday wishes and generally for the study to maintain contact.

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Staff resources

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