What Is The Umbilical Cord & Its Effects On Pregnancy?

Umbilical Cord

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Pregnancy is a wonderful time for any parent to be. While there are many moments to celebrate through those nine months, the surprise at the end of this period is one of the biggest joys you could experience.

Apart from the joy these nine months offer, there are also situations where certain complications or issues may arise during pregnancy.

One such situation that may come up during a pregnancy is the condition of the baby having two blood vessels in the umbilical cord. In case your doctor has discussed this with you, it is natural for you to be worried about what it means for you as well as your baby all through the pregnancy. Take a detailed look to understand what it exactly means.

What Is The Umbilical Cord?

The umbilical cord connects your growing baby and you. It supplies nutritious food and oxygen from the placenta. While one vessel circulates blood to the liver, the other circulates blood to the heart. The cord also carries waste away from your fetus, which later gets eliminated from your body.

Now that you know what an umbilical cord is, let’s look into what 2 vessels umbilical cord means.

Two Vessel Umbilical Cord:

Sometimes the umbilical cord of babies has three blood vessels. In this case:

  • A vein carries nutrients from the placenta to your baby.
  • Two arteries carry back waste to the placenta.

In case of a two vessel cord:

  • There is just a single vein and a single artery.
  • This is why this condition is known as having one umbilical artery.
  • Usually there are no signs of two vessel umbilical cord. You need to undergo proper diagnosis to find this out.

[ Read : Electronic Fetal Monitoring ]

Tests For Two Vessel Umbilical Cord:

There are certain tests available to determine a case of two vessel umbilical cord. Let’s take a look:

  • In course of mid-pregnancy ultrasound your doctor shall look for 3 vessels in umbilical cord.
  • However, the good news is that it is not very common and is known to occur in only 1.5% of pregnancies.

[ Read : Transvaginal Scan ]

Two-Vessel Umbilical Cord And Its Effect On Pregnancy:

Usually two blood vessels umbilical cord, also known as Single Umbilical Artery (SUA), won’t be a threat to your pregnancy and you need not worry much about the well-being of your baby developing inside. However, understanding about the same will help you deal with it better:

  • The single artery makes up for the missing one. In some cases it might affect growth of your baby and may pose minimal risk of stillbirth.
  • You need to be aware of the fact that along with the umbilical cord, the heart and kidneys of your baby is developing at the same time. Chances of slight abnormalities in the organs increase in this case.
  • Your doctor shall closely inspect the kidneys and heart. He or she may suggest an echocardiogram in your second trimester to make sure there is no danger.
  • Previously it was believed that two vessel umbilical cord increased the risk of Down syndrome. This study has been proved wrong.

In most of the cases babies who have been diagnosed with this condition, enjoy perfect health. Midwives and doctors suggest you to go for regular growth scan to completely rule out the possibilities of intrauterine growth restriction. Babies with this finding are exposed to greater risks of renal problems. Thus, it is highly essential that you take your baby for regular checkups immediately after birth.

[ Read : Fetal Echocardiography ]

There is nothing much to worry about as even with SUA you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about all doubts that are worrying you. You must also make it a point to attend all checkup sessions to ensure normal growth and development of your fetus.

Moms did you find this information helpful? Tell us about your experiences in pregnancy with single or two blood vessel umbilical cord.

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