Treating Marginal Cord Insertion

You may remember that we received a marginal cord insertion diagnosis pretty early on in our pregnancy. The diagnosis came at 18 weeks and was confirmed at 22 weeks. It was a pretty surprising diagnosis, as I was theoretically at very little “risk” for the condition. However, I am grateful to have thorough doctors who while positive about the issue are still taking the time to treat it.

There is no specific treatment plan for marginal cord insertion, but there are a number of things you can do. Use these tips to support a healthy pregnancy.

Risk Factors for Marginal Cord Insertion

Like I said, I was actually at relatively low risk for the condition, which in itself is considerably uncommon. In fact, research suggests that the condition is most common in women who:

  • Are over 35
  • Have conceived using medical assistance
  • Are having twins

I didn’t fall within these categories; however, this was my first baby, and we were also having a girl – two additional factors that are more commonly seen with the condition. In any case, a marginal cord insertion is part of my sweet babe’s birth story, and we were blessed to have doctors that helped us understand what it meant as well as encouraged us to continue healthy lifestyle choices to give our baby the best chance at a full gestation period and a safe, healthy delivery.

It is still sometimes mind boggling to me to have received this diagnosis, particularly because checking the umbilical cord insertion is actually not part of a routine ultrasound exam. My doctor had told us as much and even said that if she receives a diagnosis of an abnormal cord insertion she looks at it as a 50-50 chance until it’s been confirmed by a specialist. (At the time of the anatomy scan I felt it was a slight inconvenience to be in another state traveling for my husband’s work and trying to find a location that would complete the ultrasound for us. Looking back on it now, though, it was likely a blessing in disguise, as this condition might not have been caught by another sonographer.)

Common Treatment of a Marginal Cord Insertion

When I initially googled the condition itself, I came up short on a lot of fronts, including treatment of the condition. In fact, many women said that they had received a diagnosis followed by no concurrent treatment plan. While I understand a marginal cord insertion is the relatively lesser diagnosis when compared to a velamentous cord insertion in which the cord is inserted in the membranes of the placenta, I still felt like the condition merited at least some attention from medical professionals, particularly because it can affect baby’s growth rate.

There is no specific treatment plan for marginal cord insertion, but there are a number of things you can do. Use these tips to support a healthy pregnancy.

Thankfully, my doctors felt the same way, and put me on a regular regimen of checkups to monitor baby’s progress. I also did a bit of research on my own and incorporated some healthy pregnancy practices to make sure my baby had the greatest opportunity to absorb nutrients and grow as possible. While some of these “treatment considerations” were not necessarily doctor-prescribed, they are all considered elements of a healthy pregnancy to provide baby with adequate nutrition and optimal development potential.

  • Monthly Ultrasounds – I received monthly ultrasounds from a high risk obstetrician to check baby’s growth rate compared to her gestational age.
  • Non-stress Tests – Once we reached the 26 weeks mark, we began getting regular non-stress tests to monitor my uterus for contractions and to establish a better baseline for baby’s heart rate.
  • Daily Exercise – While strenuous exercise can inhibit baby’s growth, light exercise like walking is good for increasing blood flow to baby and managing weight gain. I tried to walk at least 30 to 40 minutes each day, even if it was just around the house.
  • Sleeping on Left Side – Again, sleeping on the left side maximizes oxygen and blood flow to baby, so it’s a good way to increase or at least support baby’s intake of nutrients to promote healthy growth and development.
  • Prenatal Vitamins – I actually started a prenatal regimen prior to conceiving to up my chances of getting pregnant and to make sure I had adequate stores of nutrients, especially folic acid, in my body as soon as I became pregnant. I’ve been taking the same prenatal vitamins since, and my doctor approved my choice wholeheartedly.
  • Rest – This one was tough for me at times, but I knew the more rest I allowed myself, particularly when I was feeling overly tired, the better it was for baby. This again enabled my body to best support baby’s growth and development.
  • Nutrient-Rich Diet – I was also diagnosed with mild anemia at 28 weeks, so I really honed in my diet to include nutrient-dense foods to support baby’s nutrition. I avoided eating empty calories and maximized on fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods that would provide me and my growing little one optimal nutrition.

While I didn’t actually receive a treatment regimen for the marginal cord insertion from my doctor, I took her suggestions for a healthy pregnancy and did some research on my own to come up with a plan to support my baby’s growth. In addition to the doctor-prescribed ultrasounds and non-stress tests, these healthy living choices helped my baby grow to be healthy and well upon delivery! Some doctors may minimize a marginal cord insertion diagnosis; however, there are still things you can do to insure that you and baby have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

10 thoughts on “Treating Marginal Cord Insertion

  1. cristina

    Hi,

    Thank you for sharing your story. My name is Cristina and I am 21 weeks pregnant and the doctor told me that I have marginal cord, just like you described in your story. I am super worried and terrified about this situation and as much as I look it up on google I get more scared and terrified. 🙁 A lot of ppl are saying that one of the risk for marginal cord is that the baby can be born prematurely or with genetic issues. I just cant sleep or eat since I got diagnosed.
    My question is did your baby girl got born on time? everything was good in the end, right? 🙂

    thank you,
    Cristina

    Reply
    1. Leesha Post author

      Cristina, thank you so much for reaching out! I completely understand your concern! I felt the exact same way! Yes, my baby girl was born at 39 weeks, naturally, and had no additional health concerns! I’d love to email and talk more with you. You can reach me at leesha.chamberlain@gmail.com!

      Reply
  2. DeJa McCarther-Jackson

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your story. My name is DeJa and I recently received the same news you did. I’m 22 weeks, baby is measuring at 24 weeks (so she’s doing really well), but of course Google didn’t help, only worried me more. My doctor told me he’d continue to monitor baby, but I’m terrified by the horror stories of course. He also said there’s not much we can do but monitor the baby to make sure she’s still growing after 30 weeks. My emotions are all over the place. Great to hear your story and the success!

    Reply
    1. Leesha Post author

      Deja, thank you so much for sharing! I can certainly relate to what you are going through! The unknown was really scarier than anything we went through, and we went on to naturally deliver a healthy, beautiful baby girl at 39 works!

      Reply
  3. Jessica

    Hi! I so appreciate you sharing your story.

    Like the other ladies, I was recently diagnosed with marginal cord insertion. My diagnosis was at 20 weeks due to a trip to urgent care for some spotting. Not only was I diagnosed with this, but during the sonogram, the baby’s heart rate apparently fell to 80 beats per minute. However, when the urgent care OB came to check the rate, it was at 146 beats per minute.

    Bottom line, there is definitely not enough information out there regarding this, and your post was a breath of fresh air after trying to navigate the terrifying facts on Google. I am definitely uneasy with having this condition, but am doing my best to stay positive. I am looking forward to getting a plan put together with my doctor shortly.

    Thank you again for sharing your story!

    Reply
    1. Leesha Post author

      Jessica, I am so glad you found some encouragement here! I know when we first heard the diagnosis I was so scared and even more so after I started searching…Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is any other way I can support you!

      Reply
  4. Melanie

    I was just diagnosed with the same thing. My NP told me it was really nothing to be concerned with, but Google normally likes to tell me otherwise in these types of situations. Your story helps tremendously and your plan of action is just really good common sense… I’ll for sure be trying to do everything I can to make sure my little dude is getting everything he needs <3

    Reply
    1. Leesha Post author

      Melanie, I can completely relate! When we first got the news, I was told the same thing but then immediately Googled everything…I’m glad you were able to find some hope in what I shared! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or just need someone to talk to! ❤️

      Reply
  5. Evelyn

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus of women thanking you for this post. I was also diagnosed with marginal cord insertion at my mid-pregnancy ultrasound and went on the google journey of terror that the others describe. I’m now 37 weeks, I wanted a low intervention pregnancy and birth and so we only did a growth ultrasound at 32 weeks to confirm that the little guy is growing well. No additional stress tests or anything more. The baby is measuring normal at each check up so that’s good. My doc feels that I should be able to have another natural delivery but they may monitor a bit more during labor. Aside from that, we really haven’t done much additional intervention. I’ve stayed active, eat right and get plenty of rest when I’m not working or chasing the toddler around. Recently, as I’ve started down the homestretch, I found myself feeling a bit nervous about it again and your post and comments helped a lot. Thanks! Glad to hear that your delivery was normal, that makes me feel better.

    Reply
    1. Leesha Post author

      Aw, Evelyn, I’m glad you found the post and additional conversation reassuring! We were very thankful for the care received and did have the additional monitoring like you mentioned. Other than that, delivery was relatively uneventful! Praying yours goes as smoothly! (Side note…We named our daughter Evelyn Grace!)

      Reply

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