Placental transfusion: a review

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Abstract

Recently there have been a number of studies and presentations on the importance of providing a placental transfusion to the newborn. Early cord clamping is an avoidable, unphysiologic intervention that prevents the natural process of placental transfusion. However, placental transfusion, although simple in concept, is affected by multiple factors, is not always straightforward to implement, and can be performed using different methods, making this basic procedure important to discuss. Here, we review three placental transfusion techniques: delayed cord clamping, intact umbilical cord milking and cut-umbilical cord milking, and the evidence in term and preterm newborns supporting this practice. We will also review several factors that influence placental transfusion, and discuss perceived risks versus benefits of this procedure. Finally, we will provide key straightforward concepts and implementation strategies to ensure that placental-to-newborn transfusion can become routine practice at any institution.

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