I hear alot about the cord being tangled round babies neck at birth and wondering how this happens ? Does it happen just before they are born as when they are much smaller and have tons of room and moving , dancing and twirling they seem to be fine ? But how does it happen when there isn’t much room left for them to move or are they already tangled and grow with it round their neck ? Also is there any way of knowing if your baby is distressed in third trimester because of the cord round there neck ?
Up to 20% of pregnancies involve the cord getting entangled around the baby’s neck. The incidence increases with the gestation of the pregnancy.
However, it does not affect the blood supply to the baby or the baby’s brain and a recent study of over 13000 births showed no increased risk at all to the baby.
It is therefore often only discovered as the baby’s head is being delivered. The midwife or doctor delivering your baby will routinely feel for the cord after the head is delivered and before the shoulders come out. At this time it is possible to assess whether or not the cord can be looped back over the head to reduce the entanglement or simply cut and then disentangled.
Occasionally the cord can form a true knot but once again this seems to have no effect on birth weight or condition at birth.
If you try and imagine a rubber hose pipe with a full flow of water passing through it, it is almost impossible to form a kink that will stop the flow. It is the same with the cord . When it is in full flow it is extremely unlikely to get entangled or for blood flow to be compromised in a serious way.
Try not to worry about this issue during the remainder of your pregnancy.
If you feel nervous, it can be helpful to keep an eye on your baby’s movements – here is a link to the latest guidelines