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Delayed Cord Clamping and Infant Brain Study (IBS)

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Brown University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Judith S Mercer, University of Rhode Island Identifier:
First received: June 12, 2012
Last updated: November 27, 2015
Last verified: November 2015
The purpose of this study is to determine if delaying cord clamping at the birth of term infants effects the early brain development (myelin deposition)as determined by quantitative MRI at 4 and 10 months and developmental testing at 4, 10 and 24 months. This study will help to establish a scientific basis for the timing of cord clamping with reference to brain development.

Condition Intervention
Iron Deficiency
Procedure: Delayed Cord Clamping

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Effects of Placental Transfusion on Early Brain Development

Further study details as provided by University of Rhode Island:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Brain Myelin Volume [ Time Frame: 4 months of age ]
    At 4 months of age, term infants exposed to delayed cord clamping will have greater myelin content when compared to infants exposed to immediate cord clamping

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Ferritin levels [ Time Frame: 4 months of age ]
    Term infants exposed to delayed cord clamping will have higher ferritin levels when compared to infants with immediate cord clamping.

Estimated Enrollment: 128
Study Start Date: October 2012
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date: December 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: Immediate Cord Clamping (ICC)
The infant will be placed on the maternal abdomen and the umbilical cord will be clamped immediately after birth (routine care).
Experimental: Delayed Cord Clamping (DCC)
At birth, infants will be placed on the maternal abdomen and the cord clamping will be delayed for 5 minutes. If the provider is unable to delay the cord clamping, the cord will be milked 5 times.
Procedure: Delayed Cord Clamping
At birth, the infant will be placed on the maternal abdomen and the umbilical will either be cut immediately or after a 5 minute delay.
Other Name: delayed umbilical cord clamping

Detailed Description:

The current obstetrical practice at birth in the United States is that the umbilical cord of the infant is clamped immediately. When immediate clamping occurs, 20 to 40% of the fetal-placental blood volume is left behind in the placenta. This blood contains enough iron-rich red blood cells to meet the infant's iron needs for the first 4 to 6 months of life. Delaying cord clamping has been shown to increase early iron stores without contributing to adverse outcomes. Early iron sufficiency is essential for long term neurologic health. Iron deficiency in infancy adversely affects cognitive, motor, socio-emotional, and behavioral development. Human and animal studies have shown that inadequate iron stores in early infancy have an irreversible negative impact on the developing brain with deficits persisting even after iron levels have been restored by iron supplementation. Iron is an essential component of myelination which is critical for normal brain development and function. Myelination, which peaks during the first year of life, establishes and maintains efficient communication between the discrete regions of the brain. Abnormal myelination underlies a variety of childhood developmental disorders including conditions such as autism.

The gap is that the effect of increased iron stores from delayed cord clamping on myelination and neurodevelopment during early childhood is unknown. Our hypothesis is that placental transfusion affects myelination and early childhood development in the following ways: 1) placental transfusions lead to increased blood volume (BV) and red cell volume (RCV) at birth; 2) increased RCV results in more available iron for early body iron stores; 3) increased body iron stores provide essential iron supply for optimal myelination; 4) optimal myelination results in improved developmental and cognitive performance. We propose a randomized controlled longitudinal (birth to 24 months) trial of 128 infants to measure the effect of placental transfusion on the structure and function of the developing brain. We will use a non-invasive neuroimaging technique to measure myelin acquisition over time and to correlate the findings with iron stores and developmental outcomes. Enrolled women will be randomized at birth to the immediate cord clamping group or the delayed cord clamping group. We will assess infants for iron sufficiency and myelin deposition at 4 and 10 months and evaluate developmental outcomes at 4, 10, and 24 months. This study will help to establish a scientific basis for the timing of cord clamping with reference to brain development. The innovation of this study is in the simplicity of delaying cord clamping combined with the use of a new method of MRI that can quantify myelin deposition. This low-tech change in a clinical practice has the potential to reduce iron deficiency and improve developmental outcomes. If delayed cord clamping demonstrates protective effects for optimal development, changing practice will translate into a large cost savings improving lifetime productivity beneficial to society as a whole.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 45 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • women in the third trimester with:
  • singleton pregnancy
  • planning to breastfeed for six months
  • English speaking
  • planning vaginal birth

Exclusion Criteria:

  • major medical or obstetrical complications
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • chorioamnionitis
  • familial learning disability
  • major psychiatric or depressive illness
  • fetal congenital anomalies
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01620008

United States, Rhode Island
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island, United States, 02905
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Rhode Island
Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Brown University
Principal Investigator: Judith S Mercer, PhD, CNM Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island
Principal Investigator: Debra A Erickson-Owens, PhD, CNM University of Rhode Island; Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Principal Investigator: Sean C. Deoni, PhD Brown University
  More Information

Responsible Party: Judith S Mercer, Principal Investigator, University of Rhode Island Identifier: NCT01620008     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: Mercer-9329
Study First Received: June 12, 2012
Last Updated: November 27, 2015

Keywords provided by University of Rhode Island:
cord clamping (delayed or immediate)
Myelin content

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anemia, Iron-Deficiency
Anemia, Hypochromic
Hematologic Diseases
Iron Metabolism Disorders
Metabolic Diseases processed this record on May 25, 2017