SUA has Been Found; Will My Baby be Born Healthy?

Anywhere from half to two-thirds of babies born with single artery umbilical cord are born healthy and with no chromosomal or congenital abnormalities.

Of the remaining babies with SUA (single umbilical artery) , some studies suggest that about 25 percent have birth defects, including chromosomal and/or other abnormalities.

These can include trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. However, the most common pregnancy complications that occur in infants with SUA are heart defects, gastrointestinal tract abnormalities and problems with the central nervous system.

The respiratory system, urinary tract, and musculoskeletal system may also be affected. One in five babies affected by SUA will be born with multiple malformations.

Aside from these problems, between 15% and 20% of infants with SUA may suffer from intrauterine growth retardation. Single umbilical artery also has an increased miscarriage rate of 22% associated with it, likely due to the increased abnormalities. Furthermore, there is an association between SUA and low birthweight (<2500g) and early delivery (<37 weeks).

Will I Need Extra Screening if My Baby has SUA?

It is likely that you will receive a more thorough ultrasound scan in order to detect any abnormalities.

Since ultrasound scans are very good at picking up abnormalities, if you have a normal ultrasound, then it is likely that your baby will be born without any congenital or chromosomal abnormalities. A fetal echocardiogram may also be performed to check the health of your child.

In the presence of an otherwise reassuring prenatal ultrasound, the only other change to antenatal care one might make is a growth scan to make sure the baby is growing at a ‘normal’ rate toward the last month of pregnancy.


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