Nuchal Cords

Ever been told your baby was in danger because of a nuchal cord(also referred to as umbilical cord around the neck)? Nuchal cords have become the perfect excuse. We fear nuchal cords now more than ever. We are told they are dangerous and problematic because its easier to lay blame with the mother and baby rather than the care provider and/or hospital. This has resulted in fear about nuchal cords. 

Common excuses we are given:

➖you need a cesarean because baby was found to have a nuchal cord during a routine ultrasound
➖you couldn’t push your baby out vaginally because the nuchal cord was “hanging the baby up”
➖your baby is in immediate danger from a nuchal cord
➖you’re lucky your baby survived a nuchal cord

What’s the evidence for nuchal cords?🤔 Are nuchal cords common?🤔Should you worry?🤔

📌the umbilical cord is the life line that attaches the fetus to the placenta. it’s made up of three blood vessels: two smaller arteries which carry blood to the placenta and a larger vein which returns blood to the fetus. It can grow to be 60 cm long, allowing the baby enough cord to safely move around without causing damage to the cord or the placenta.
📌nuchal cords are very common. a third of all babies are born with their umbilical cord around their neck
📌the umbilical cord is coiled and covered in Whartons jelly(Whartons jelly is a gelatinous substance that is also found on your eyeballs). the jelly and coil protects the umbilical cord from stretch and compression. it is wonderfully built to be worn around the neck without problems.
📌research has found that a nuchal cord is not associated with morbidity or mortality for the baby during pregnancy. because a 3rd of all babies are with nuchal cords, babies who die are often found with a nuchal cord. care providers and hospitals are quick to blame fetal deaths on nuchal cords. families deserve to know the truth about their baby, even if it means admitting to care provider negligence and/or saying “we don’t know why your baby died”. only in very rare cases does a nuchal cord ever pose a risk to baby
📌there is absolutely no reason to undergo a cesarean if a nuchal cord is found during an ultrasound
📌your baby is not ‘held up’ by the cord at any time. during labor and pushing phase, your baby, placenta and cord are all moving down together. The uterus shrinks down during contractions, moving the baby downwards, along with their attached placenta and cord.
📌during a c section for “fetal distress” or “failure to progress during labor” more than likely your baby will have a cord around their neck(because again,nuchal cords happen a 3rd of the time), and your care provider will have you believe that the nuchal cord is all the blame. FALSE! Your care provider and hospital are covering their buns by blaming you and baby for their lack of patience.
📌the only time a cord can become very stretched and tight around the neck is at the end of labor when baby’s head is being born. being “choked” by the cord is not a real thing. your baby is NOT breathing oxygen through their neck/airway. baby receives oxygen through the cord. when a nuchal cord is wrapped tightly, the cord decreases the amount of oxygen and blood flow it sends to baby, but not completely stops working. these babies tend to have their cords cut before they are fully born and have a harder time transitioning and wind up needing more care and/or resuscitation due to the care provider cutting the cord very prematurely. but again, this will be blamed on the tight nuchal cord. these babies would recover quickly if the cord was left intact.
📌the worst thing you can do to a baby that has a tight nuchal cord is clamp and cut immediately
📌removing and/or loosening a nuchal cord right as baby’s head emerges increases the chances of snapping the cord on accident and causing excessive bleeding and harm to the baby. wait till baby is born to unwrap the cord.

📌Most nuchal cords are not dangerous and are not associated with perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Photography: Maternal Instincts By Amberley