The researchers found that delaying the clamping by even 30 seconds resulted in higher blood pressure, higher glucose levels and fewer digestive problems in preemies.
That may mean a greater level of stability for such babies, many of whom have low blood pressure and glucose levels.
The study included 32 premature babies. Half of them had routine care, where their umbilical cords were clamped immediately after birth. The other babies had a delay of about 30 to 45 seconds before their umbilical cords were clamped.
Along with the other differences, fewer of the babies who had delayed clamping had to go home on oxygen, the study found.
The theory is that delayed clamping allows for more circulating blood cells to carry more oxygen to the baby's brain and other organs. That may aid in the baby's stability and development.
A larger study to test this hypothesis will begin in April. It will include 74 babies born at 24 to 32 weeks who are to be followed for seven months.
Here's where you can learn more about premature babies.