Birth Injuries

Umbilical Cord Wrapped Around Your Baby’s Neck (Nuchal Cord)?

When the umbilical cord performs a loop around the baby’s neck, a nuchal cord occurs. Due to the outcome of a decreased level of blood and oxygen in the baby, nuchal cords can be dangerous in certain instances. According to some literature, nuchal cord is fairly common at birth in that it can occur in close to 30% of births [1].   

The longer the umbilical cord, the greater the risk of a nuchal cord forming. Also, nuchal cords are primarily seen in boys. When a cord is longer than normal, along with an active baby during pregnancy, the chances of a nuchal cord occurring increases.

Doctors must turn to a C-Section delivery if cord compression is present and interrupting the flow of oxygen to the baby, for a considerable amount of time. The electronic fetal heart monitor can act as an aid for doctors to see if the baby can tolerate a vaginal delivery. The fetal heart strip often reveals a sharp decline in the fetal heart rate. On average, the normal fetal heart rate is around 120-160 beats per minute.

Double Nuchal Cord

When the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck twice, this is referred to as a double nuchal cord. Although this diagnosis is rarer than a nuchal cord, it still presents identical concerns and dangers. As previously mentioned, the loops can obstruct the oxygen flow to the baby. As a result, this can cause fetal hypoxia, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Symptoms/Diagnosis For Nuchal Cord

With the help of a fetal heart monitor, the signs and symptoms associated with a nuchal cord can reveal itself during the labor and delivery process. The monitor can detect errors with the baby’s heart rate. Prior to labor and delivery, doctors utilize the ultrasound to detect if the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck. Doctors can use the Doppler to look and see if the cord is completely or partially wrapped around the neck of the baby. The doctors can also determine if the cord is a single or a double nuchal cord.

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