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.
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.
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.