Pregnancy Complications: Umbilical Cord Abnormalities
Umbilical cords are literally your lifeline when you are inside of your mother’s womb. It connects the developing fetus to the placenta (tissue that provides nourishment to the fetus). The main role of umbilical cord is to transfer nutrients, provide oxygen supply and carries waste away from the fetus. This cord remains attached to the mother as long as fetus grows inside, until its ready for delivery. However, there are some anomalies that are seen in umbilical cord. Find out more about them in the list below:
- Single umbilical artery– The umbilical cord originally has two arteries and one vein and in some cases, that one artery is missing. Though rare, it is generally seen in cases of multiple pregnancies and easily comes into notice on conducting an ultrasound. This increases the risk of birth defects and physical abnormalities. Once detected, doctors advise getting the baby tested for any abnormalities or other problems he or she suspects.
- Umbilical cord cysts- The cysts are found on the umbilical cord and may result in birth defects and kidney problems. It can be formed due to incomplete development of embryonic structures (true cysts) or swelling of Wharton’s jelly (a tissue that protects blood vessels). This may raise concern and doctors might suggest amniocentesis to make sure there are no signs of any birth defect.
- Umbilical cord knots– This results in serious complication as the extra length of umbilical cord may result in unnecessary knots that can be life-threatening for growing fetus. These knots can result in stillbirth or miscarriage, depending upon the severity. Special care has to be taken while delivering in case of umbilical cord knots. In most cases, C-section is done to avoid any risk of miscarriage.
- Nuchal cords– When the umbilical cords are found wrapped around baby’s neck, it is termed as a nuchal cord. This isn’t something that would normally cause a problem but precautions are still taken. These Nuchal cords can also be found tied around other parts of the body. Delivering a baby with such loops doesn’t involve many risks.
These are few abnormalities associated with the umbilical cord. Your doctor will suggest you go for further testing if any of these conditions are observed. This will help to ensure that your baby can lead a normal life