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Keywords:

  • anemia;
  • iron deficiency;
  • umbilical cord clamping

The optimal timing of umbilical cord clamping has been debated in the scientific literature for at least the last century, when cord clamping practices shifted from delayed towards immediate clamping. Recent research provides evidence for the beneficial effect of delayed cord clamping on infant iron status. The present review describes the physiological basis for the impact of cord clamping time on total body iron at birth and the relationship between birth body iron, as affected by cord clamping time, and iron status later in infancy. This research is discussed in the context of current clamping practices, which tend towards early cord clamping in most settings, as well as the high levels of anemia present in young infants in many countries worldwide.