The umbilical cord in placental mammals, including humans, represents the connection between the developing fetus and the placenta. It contains two arteries and one vein and is filled with jelly-like substance which prevents compression of the cord. This organ is highly important for babies and it supplies the fetus with oxygen and all the nutrients necessary for proper growth and development. After the birth the cord is cut off.
Its length varies. In full termed neonate umbilical cord is approximately 50 cm in length. It is no wonder that babies may face a cord around their necks at birth. This can be serious complication if it occurs in the womb. Apart from condition a few more problems related to the umbilical cord may occur. They include prolapsed cord and knot in the umbilical cord.
Umbilical Cord around the Neck - Possible Complication
In almost one third of all babies the umbilical cord is enlarged. In twins, there is higher chance of wrapping of the cords around babies necks particularly if twins are sharing the same sac. In majority of wrapped cords the doctor can perform a simple maneuver and slip the cord above baby's head and finish the delivery. On the other hand, the umbilical cord may need to be cut off before the birth. This requires prompt delivery. If the umbilical cord is way too tight it may interfere in oxygen supply leading to hypoxia. This condition requires urgent medical care and treatment so that baby does not suffer from permanent damage caused by insufficient blood supply with oxygen. If babies are born on time they will not have to face any complication. So the bottom line is that if wrapping of the cord occurs the doctors need to act as soon as possible and perform proper maneuvers to deliver baby as safer as possible and to prevent potential complications.
Can Umbilical Cord around the Neck be Prevented
All pregnant women need to go for regular check-ups. Still even if the woman is regularly examined this complication may occur and it simply cannot be prevented. It may happen that baby is suffering from umbilical cord wrapping around the neck inside the womb. This will lead to certain symptoms and the women may require urgent delivery.
Even if the umbilical cord is wrapped around baby's neck at birth this condition can be successfully treated by well-experienced and skillful doctors. Fortunately, in most cases wrapping does not even cause serious problems. The delivery is normal and with proper care there are no complications at all.