Thursday, 12 December 2013

Umbilical Cord Wrapped Around Baby's Neck

The Facts
You may have heard that umbilical cords wrapped around a baby's neck is bad since it can strangle the baby. Wikipedia says that 6-37% of babies have a nuchal cord (cord wrapped 360 degrees around the neck). VBAC facts states that around 25-35% of babies have nuchal cords. Texas Tech University of Health Sciences states that it's around 50%. Some (1-3%) babies have the cord wrapped around their neck more than once.

How Babies Breath
Most of the time there is no cause for concern and the cord will not strangle your baby. If you think of the cord as a hose, water can still get through a hose even if it's wrapped around something. First of all, your baby isn't breathing the way we are; they're breathing through their umbilical cord, so something around their neck won't strangle them. In order for there to be a problem, there has to be a kink or cord compression which prevents oxygen from traveling through the cord and to the baby.

Cord Entanglement
The cord can also wrap itself around the baby's torso or extremities. I have heard that up to 80% of baby's have the cord wrapped around some part of their body, but can't find the link. (If you know of it, please let me know.) Twins have even a higher rate of cord entanglement, with up to 70%.

Cord Wrapped Around Baby's Neck Five Times
There's a Youtube video (not safe for work!) that shows an unassisted birth (no one catches the baby, he just kind of plops out onto the bed) with the cord wrapped around the baby's neck five times! I think it's also great that the woman is giving her space and allowed to birth in the position that she wants, can push when she wants, and wear what she wants. (She chooses not to wear anything)

Knots
Even knots and true knots are often not a problem since these are formed at the beginning of the pregnancy when the baby can flip and turn and Wharton's Jelly helps prevent compression of the vein and arteries. 

My Story
My daughter was born with the cord wrapped around her neck, waist, and right leg. Rosa simply unwrapped the cord and put her on my chest. She was fine.


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