Let’s talk about babies who have two vessel cords, also known as SUA (Single Umbilical Artery).
Typically, an umbilical cord has two arteries and one vein (left side pic). However, some babies have just one artery and vein (right side pic!)
The umbilical vein carries oxygen-rich blood to your baby, and the umbilical arteries carry oxygen-poor blood away, and to the placenta.
Two vessel cords are typically diagnosed through ultrasound and found at the anatomy scan at around the 18-20 weeks gestation mark.
For some women, a two-vessel cord diagnosis doesn’t cause any differences in care at all! There are many babies that have a single umbilical artery that have that continue to be healthy pregnancies and deliveries, with no extra interventions are ever needed!
However, some babies with a single artery are at increased risk for birth defects such as heart problems, kidney problems, or spinal defects.
Babies with a two-vessel cord may also be at higher risk for not growing properly in your uterus. This could include preterm delivery, IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction), or stillbirth.
What to Expect If Your Baby Has an SUA?
If your provider detects a two-vessel cord by low-res ultrasound, they may suggest a higher resolution scan to more closely look at the baby’s anatomy. Sometimes amniocentesis, fetal echocardiogram, or additional genetic screenings are also recommended.
If your provider doesn’t suspect that baby is experiencing any adverse side effects, they may simply recommend an ultrasound in the future. This may be once per month, or later in your third trimester to ensure the baby is growing on track!
Have you had experience with this diagnosis?
Share your experience below!