Umbilical cord parameters in Ilorin: correlates and foetal outcome

  • KT Adesina
  • OO Ogunlaja
  • AP Aboyeji
  • OA Olarinoye
  • AS Adeniran
  • AA Fawo


Background: The anthropometric parameters of the umbilical cord have clinical significance. Current parameters of the cord, its correlates and related foetal outcome are lacking in our parturients.
Objectives: To describe the anthropometric parameters and abnormalities of the umbilical cord; and determine their maternal correlates and foetal outcome.
Design: A cross sectional analytical study.
Setting: The Obstetric and Gynaecology Department of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, between September 2012 and June 2013.
Subjects: Healthy pregnant women with singleton pregnancies.
Results: Four hundred and twenty- eight (428) singleton deliveries were studied. The respective mean values of the cord length and width were 526.87±115.5mm and 19.56±11.12mm. Short cord (< 40cm) occurred in 7.2% while long cord (> 69cm) was found in 9.3% of the parturient. The incidences of single umbilical artery, cord round the body and knots were 7%, 8.4% and 14.5% respectively. Nuchal cord was the most common (91.4%). Only gestational age had significant statistical relationship with cord length abnormalities (P = 0.0093). The cord length was an important correlate of cord helices, knots and vessels (P< 0.05).Parity had correlations with the number of vessels(R= 0.099, P=0.042). The cord coiling index was statistically related to the presence of congenital abnormalities (P=0.011). Other perinatal events were not related to umbilical cord parameters. Perinatal asphyxia was the most common indication for NICU admission (3.5%) but there was no significant statistical difference between NICU admission and cord parameters.
Conclusion: The umbilical cord parameters in apparently healthy parturients in Ilorin were comparable with others elsewhere. The cord length and helix are important correlates of gestational age and congenital abnormalities. Parity may be related to abnormal umbilical vessels. Cord length, coils, coil index and umbilical vessels should be examined post-natally.


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eISSN: 0012-835X