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Two Vessel Cords Or Single Umbilical Artery (SUA)

Everything You Need to Know about SUA’s

SUA - Single Umbilical Artery - babies who have two vessel cords
Sua - Single Umbilical Artery - Babies Who Have Two Vessel Cords
Sua – Single Umbilical Artery – Babies Who Have Two Vessel Cords

⁣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?

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20 Comments

  1. My daughter was diagnosed with sua at 20 weeks. It was scary at first. Had to have in utero echo and they monitored her kidneys quite a bit as 1 was a little smaller but they evened out around 34 weeks. She was 8lbs 5oz and scored a 9.5 apgar even with a double nouchal cord. My dr brought the placenta and umbilical cord over so I could see it. Very neat looking. She is now 2 and has always been healthy.

  2. My SUA baby born 11/2, went into labor spontaneously on my due date and was in labor for 2hrs before he was born, got to the hospital at 9.5 cm and he came out in 8min of pushing! He was completely healthy at 9lbs 1oz- my pregnancy had extra monitoring for his growth but my medical providers never saw any reasons for concern! (This was my second baby!)

  3. I was diagnosed with SUA at 21 weeks. Had quad screwing which came back negative, so the doctors aren’t worried about that. I am currently 28 weeks and I am about receive my second level 2 ultrasound. Baby appears to be growing just fine. But I still worry a ton!

  4. Yes!! My son (who is almost 2 now), had a 2VC that was discovered at his 20 week anatomy scan. We had to do a second more sophisticated anatomy scan where they determined that there was no other abnormalities, just the 2VC. But I did have to have NSTs 2x a week starting at around I think 34 weeks. Labor was also a bit tricky as I could only push in one position or his heart rate dropped too low. All in all, I was a nervous wreck because of the 2VC diagnosis but everything ended up being pretty much fine, aside from the stress of it and a somewhat stressful labor and delivery with heart decelerations and he wasn’t breathing upon delivery. However, he’s a healthy happy 2 year old boy now!

  5. I had a SUA baby girl and she is now a healthy 18 month old! She only ever had perfect growth in the womb and a wonderful delivery. Just had a few extra ultrasounds done by a specialist. I was induced at 39.5 weeks due to SUA but baby was fine and my body was ready. Labor took 2.5 hours total. Never had a single issue to this day. 💕 Let this be an encouragement to worried mamas!

  6. I had a two vessel cord with my daughter. I had a healthy pregnancy, but by 3 months after her birth they heard a heart murmur which led to her seeing a cardiologist. The cardiology saw a hole in her upper left and right chamber. By age two she had to get surgery to close the hole so more fluid from the heart wouldn’t lead into the lungs. She’s fine and healthy now! It’s good to check these things early on so you can do something to prevent it

  7. My daughter was a SUA cord baby. And they couldn’t find her right kidney at first. Echo was normal and at 32 weeks they found her right kidney. It’s just low. 12 weeks of stress. She was born with craniosynostosis completely unrelated and I was the one to find it and tell my doctor to refer us to a specialist. She will be having skull surgery in Jan at 5 months old. You can be told something could be wrong your entire pregnancy for nothing to be wrong or for something doctors completely miss. My advice to other moms is to try and enjoy your pregnancy and let the stress and unknown go. My daughter has no other genetic markings and is developing normally. SUA babies are strong little fighters as many nurses told me.

  8. Have you ever dealt with velamentous cord insertion? I had this with my first along with placenta prévia & a condition where there were blood vessels at the cervix opening and it was super dangerous for me to go into labor.. my case was so rare my ultrasound Tech used it in her classes.

  9. Yes, I had this with my baby boy that I gave birth to last year. The hospital asked to keep the umbilical cord so they could give it to the doctor’s for their “teaching”. It’s a learning hospital too for medical/nursing students

  10. My daughter had a single umbilical artery, found at the 20 week anatomy scan, she also had intrauterine growth restriction, so she was very small in utero. I had an abnormal AFP (lab work that detects possible spina bifida) but there were no abnormalities on ultrasound, and had a fetal echo but no wrong there either. My water broke at 34 weeks and I had an emergency c section, she was 3lbs 10oz. She has a sacral dimple but it’s closed but that’s probably why my labs were abnormal, and she has a VSD (ventricular septal defect) in her heart but it’s small. She is almost 3months now and almost 9lbs so she doing great and is my sweet baby.

  11. I’m pregnant with a two vessel baby. She also has a heart defect called TOF, clubbed foot and presented with a growth defect later on (30 weeks). No genetic markers were found through amnio. Hoping for a happy and healthy as can be at 39 weeks. 💖 every baby is so unique.

  12. My sweet girl was an SUA baby. We found out at 20wks and were given very little info on the topic.
    She ended up having to come at 37wks for health reasons – however, to this day, now two, she is healthy and thriving.

Posted By Claire

Claire is our Community Manager here at New Moms Forum. A mom of two (almost grown-up babies), Claire has been building and operating community-based websites for almost 20 years. In her downtime, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and drinking copious amounts of red wine!

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