What is a Nuchal Cord?

A nuchal cord is a complication that occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck one or more times. Nuchal cords can interrupt normal blood, nutrients, and oxygen exchange, which can lead to a variety of birth injuries, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a form of brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation around the time of birth. If a nuchal cord is present, doctors should carefully monitor and manage the condition.



One type of complication that we see in our reviews is a cord complication. A nuchal cord is when the umbilical cord is actually wrapped around the baby’s neck. It can be a loose cord or it can be a tight cord. It can be once around, twice around, and depending on how tight it is or how many times it’s wrapped, it can impact the oxygenation to the baby. When a mom is in labor and she’s having contractions, with each contraction, that’s putting compression pressure on the cord, and it can stop the blood flow. A situation where there’s a long labor and a nuchal cord, we can see hypoxia occurring.