Dear Aunty Tina, I’m pregnant and hear about births where the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck. Is there any way I can prevent this?
Long answer short is NO. There is no way to prevent the umbilical cord wrapping around your baby’s neck at birth, but don’t worry about this too much, actually 1 in 5 babies are born with the cord around their neck. I once saw a cord that had wrapped itself round the baby’s neck 7 times, she looked liked she had come straight from the Kayan tribe who wear all those rings. On top of that, the cord also had a knot in it!
The baby was fine. It is only a problem if the cord is pulled tight, which is a rare occurrence and not something you should stress over. Instead focus on all the good the umbilical cord is doing. I like to call it the baby hose, which has three conduits, 2 arteries and a vein supplying oxygen and nutrients straight into your baby’s developing body. It is attached to the placenta, which gets expelled from your body by a few contractions after the baby is born.
Some people can be amazed at how long the umbilical cord can be. I’ve seen some that are longer than a yard and then some that are barely two feet, and sometimes the cord, that is usually rope like can be as flat as a belt. I’ve also seen people be amazed at how big the placenta can be. Placenta means pie in Latin, imagine the placenta as the size of a pie plate.
Once the placenta has come out then the umbilical cord can be cut, although this can be delayed if you believe that this will help your baby. (It is believed that by delaying the clamping of the cord iron levels in your baby will be higher for the first few months, as the blood from the placenta is allowed to flow for a few more minutes).