Over the last few months, we have received quite a few questions essentially focusing on when the umbilical cord around the neck is dangerous. Sometimes this question will come up because of what is discovered on imaging technology regarding the baby. In this article and supporting video I will discuss from a medical legal aspect the umbilical cord around the neck of a baby and when it can become problematic.
Nuchal Cord Is The Name Of The Condition
The medical condition for when the umbilical cord is wrapped around a baby’s neck is called nuchal cord. According to some literature, nuchal cord can be common during labor and delivery. Depending on the source, 1-3 babies delivered will have the umbilical cord wrapped around their neck and for many of these babies there will be no harm done.
There are some risk factors for nuchal cord but for the most part, there is not much mom can do to prevent the cord from wrapping around the baby’s neck. Some of the risk factors are the following:
- Twins or multiple babies
- A long umbilical cord
- Excessive amniotic fluid
- Poorly developed cord
When The Umbilical Cord Around The Neck Is Dangerous
When the umbilical cord around the neck is dangerous is when the cord becomes compressed. Cord compression is a serious condition and must be diagnosed and monitored closely. During labor and delivery cord compression can be suggested by certain readings on the electronic fetal heart monitor. For example, the baby’s heart rate can drop suddenly when cord compression is occurring.
Nuchal cord with cord compression is dangerous because it can reduce or cut off the supply of blood and oxygen for the baby. The medical condition HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can occur when there is a reduction in blood and oxygen, which leads to a brain injury. The severity of this brain injury can vary because much will depend on the level of blood and oxygen deprivation.
In conclusion, nuchal cord can be a dangerous condition when it is coupled with cord restriction. If there is no cord compression, many babies will be born healthy with nuchal cord. With that said, if your baby has suffered the traumatic brain injury HIE and nuchal cord was present with cord compression, and you have questions, you can reach out to me at my contact information below. I speak with families like yours all the time and I would be happy to listen to your baby’s story.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP