Is a nuchal cord around the baby's neck an emergency, maybe ~ maybe not...
Nuchal cords come under the category of the Umbilical Cord. There are 2 types of nuchal cords, A & B. Type A encircles the neck in an unlocked pattern. Types B encircles the neck in a locked pattern and this second type is responsible for 1 in 50 stillbirths according to Dr. Jason Collins, MD of The Pregnancy Institute, www.preginst.com
, in New Roads, LA.
All nuchal cords have the potential to be extremely problematic. I think the most important aspect of any type of cord issue is to be aware of its presence, so if baby starts having changes in patterns of movement or heart decelerations you will know the probable cause. Umbilical cord accidents (uca), including nuchal cords, true knots, twists, torsion, kinks and long or short cords account for 30% of the 30,000+ stillbirths in the USA yearly. That is 82 each and every day in our country. They are not a "rare condition or event " and should be watched for in the last trimester of pregnancy especially. So, what to do?
First off, being educated, informed and learning how to become your baby's "en utero" advocate is one way to become empowered in the happy outcome of your pregnancy and baby's delivery day!
1. At your 20 week ultrasound have your baby's umbilical cord and placenta checked for normalcy. Begin to keep track of your baby's patterns of movement. Get to know when baby is awake and when baby is asleep. Keep a journal.
2. Have an additional ultrasound at 28 weeks. Once again have the umbilical cord and placenta checked for normalcy. Pay special attention to the umbilical cord at this time. Make sure it is not knotted, twisted, wrapped around baby's neck or body, too long or too short or kinked.
If no problem is found at this ultrasound, which will be the case in the majority of moms, "kick counting" should be done on a daily basis for the duration of your pregnancy which is supported by ACOG.
If a problem is detected or you are the mom of a previous stillborn baby, a plan of action needs to be decided upon with your doctor. Possible daily fetal heart rate monitoring at home interpreted by your doctor, very diligent kick counting and / or more frequent ultrasounds may be implemented.
All moms need to be their baby's "en utero" advocate. A change in baby's movements such as speeding up or slowing down could be the sign of a compromised baby ~ call your doctor for further medical evaluation ~ and trust your gut.