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What complications can arise, if the cord is around the neck of the baby?

Q: I am 35.4 weeks pregnant. My ultrasound report says that 2 Loops of cord are seen in the region of nape of neck. One astradle and one around. What complications can this lead to? My first child was a caesarean section.

A:The cord is around the neck in 27 out of every 100 babies who have an ultrasound in the last month of pregnancy. Most of these are of no consequence. Occasionally (in about 1 of these 100 babies) the cord tightens around the neck during labour and then the baby gets choked. This may result in death or mental disability of the baby. Therefore, when this observation is made in an ultrasound scan, the obstetrician monitors the baby's heart beat during labour, as a distressed baby will first show an increase in heart rate and then a fall. Whenever there is a doubt regarding the baby's safety as reflected in the heart rate pattern, an emergency caesarean section can be performed. If the heart rate remains steady, a normal delivery is carried out. Please also note that the cord can come off the neck even before labour begins and then of course there is absolutely no problem.

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