Umbilical Cord Wrapped Around the Neck

Завита около врата пъпна връв

It is quite common to hear that the baby’s umbilical cord is wrapped around its neck. And this raises the question: ‘Is it dangerous?’

Before we move on with whether it is dangerous and how dangerous it is, we have to ask ourselves other questions: How do we establish if the cord is wrapped around the baby? How true is this? What percentage of babies are born with this condition? Why does it matter? When can it be dangerous? What can we do to reduce the danger?

Using ultrasounds significantly improve the diagnosis, and hence the prognosis of multiple birth defects and conditions. Thanks to ultrasounds, we can also observe the umbilical cord. It is very important to know some features in ultrasonic scans – it is based on sending ultrasound waves that pass through different tissues at different speeds and penetrate differently. For example, they best pass through aquatic environments and most difficultly through bones. This way they create the screen image. When we want to see something through a bone, a lot if not all ultrasonic waves penetrate more deeply and do not create an image behind the bone.

Pregnancy develops in a woman’s pelvis that is surrounded by thick bones and only the abdomen, which has soft tissue in the front. That is, we can only monitor the pregnancy by means of ultasounds through the abdomen rather than 360 degrees.

Now imagine how possibile it is to judge whether the umbilical cord is wrapped or makes figure eights around the baby’s body/neck. This can not be established for sure, but it can only be assumed to be wrapped.

A large number of babies have the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck, body, legs, or arms without having any significant problems for the pregnancy and childbirth.

In the period of birth, when the greatest concern for parents is the child not to be ‘strangled’ by the umbilical cord, we monitor children’s heart beats and we are aware of the condition of the fetus. The presence of even discreet changes alerts the entire medical team – from the midwife to the physician-  and timely measures are conducted to improve the condition, monitoring, and eventually urgent operational delivery, as the team is ready at all times.

I hope the above written statement gives you calmness and sober judgment.


Center for Fetal Medicine

Get informed about the world of Fetal Medicine with Dr. Boris Stoilov.

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