Nuchal cord is the term used by doctors when the baby has their umbilical cord wrapped around their neck. This can happen anytime during pregnancy, labor, or birth.
The umbilical cord is the baby’s life source. It gives them all the nutrients, blood, and oxygen that they require. Any problem with the baby’s umbilical cord can be concerning, but the majority of nuchal cords are not dangerous.
A nuchal cord is also very prevalent, with around 1 in 5 babies being born perfectly healthy with the cord wrapped around their neck.
Causes of nuchal cord
If a mother is pregnant, she will know better than anyone how much the baby moves around inside her. Baby movements are a precise factor as to why they might get tangled with a nuchal cord, but there are other causes to be aware of, as well.
Wharton’s jelly, is a gelatinous, soft filling that protect the healthy cords. It is present to keep the cord knot-free so that the baby will be safe no matter how much they wriggle and flip themselves around. When the Wharton’s jelly is insufficient, it makes a nuchal cord more likely.
A mother might be more likely to get a nuchal cord if:
1. She is having twins or multiples
2. She has excessive amniotic fluid
3. The cord is long
4. The cord has poor structure
There is no specific way to avoid a nuchal cord and they are never caused by anything the mother does.
Nuchal cords are not very dangerous. If the mother does have one present, she probably will not even hear it mentioned during her baby’s birth unless a complication arises. Babies can get the cord wrapped around their necks multiple times but still be completely healthy.
In general, about 1 in 1000 births will have a true knot in the cord, in which case there are some risk factors associated with it. Even in those cases, it is very rare for the cord to tighten much to become dangerous. However, a nuchal cord that blocks blood flow is life-threatening to the baby.
There are no visible symptoms of a nuchal cord. There will be no change in the mother’s body or pregnancy symptoms. It is generally impossible for a mother to tell if her baby has a nuchal cord around the neck.
A nuchal cord can only be diagnosed using an ultrasound scan, and even then, they can be difficult to detect. Moreover, the scan can only identify the nuchal cord. Doctors cannot determine from an ultrasound scan if the cord poses any risk to the baby.
If a mother is diagnosed with a nuchal cord early in the pregnancy, it is important to not panic. The cord may unwind before birth. If it does not, the baby can still be born safely. If the doctors are informed of a potential nuchal cord during delivery, they might suggest extra observation so that they can tell immediately if her baby develops any complications in between.
In the most of the cases, a nuchal cord is not dangerous for mother or the baby. In rare cases where complications do occur, the medical team is more than equipped to handle with them. Babies are generally born safe and healthy following a nuchal cord complication.
It is very important to remember that nuchal cords cannot be avoided. There is nothing a mother does to cause it to occur. If the baby has been diagnosed with nuchal cord, it is better to try not to worry about it and get stressed. Since stress is not good for either mother or her baby. Talk with the doctor if the mother has any concerns regarding her nuchal cord diagnosis.
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