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Will the umbilical cord around the neck pose any danger to the fetus?

Tuesday, 19 September 2006
Answered by: Dr. Ashok Khurana
Director, Genitourinary and Vascular Ultrasound,
The Ultrasound Lab,
New Delhi
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Q. My LMP was 8 months ago and my EDD is next month. I underwent ultrasonography and my report says a single live fetus in cephalic presentation (LOA lie) of 34 weeks 2 days composite gestational age with grade III maturity, fundal anterior upper segment placenta and adequate liquor volume (A.F.INDEX-9); GA (LMP) 34 Weeks 5 days; GA (USG) 34 weeks 2 DAYS; (F H RATE 139 BPM) EFBW: 2425 gm; Fetal measurements: BPD 8.3 cm corresponding to 34 weeks; FL 6.8 cm; corresponding to 34 weeks 6 days; AC 29.7 cm corresponding to 33 weeks 6 days; HC 31.3 cm corresponding to 34 weeks 4 days; umbilical artery RI S/D RATIO. * 61 2.60; Cord around the neck was seen at the time of USG study; Fetal umbilical artery Doppler study is normal. Can the cord around the neck cause any problem? My doctor said that it might be possible that delivery occurs before my expected date. What symptoms will indicate that I will deliver early?

A.  About 27% of babies show the umbilical cord around the neck during an ultrasound in the 9th month of pregnancy. Of these only 1 would need a Caesarean Section in labour for a tight cord leading to distress in the baby. In the others, the cord loop would either come off before labour begins or the length of the cord would be long enough to prevent the cord from becoming tight around the neck. All you need to do is to monitor your perception of baby’s movements, which your obstetrician will teach you how to do. During labour most babies now have heart rate monitoring, which warn your doctor adequately and well in advance that your baby is unable to cope with labour and the need for an emergency Caesarean Section operation.

A.  About 27% of babies show the umbilical cord around the neck during an ultrasound in the 9th month of pregnancy. Of these only 1 would need a Caesarean Section in labour for a tight cord leading to distress in the baby. In the others, the cord loop would either come off before labour begins or the length of the cord would be long enough to prevent the cord from becoming tight around the neck. All you need to do is to monitor your perception of baby’s movements, which your obstetrician will teach you how to do. During labour most babies now have heart rate monitoring, which warn your doctor adequately and well in advance that your baby is unable to cope with labour and the need for an emergency Caesarean Section operation.

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