Umbilical cord length in singleton gestations: A Finnish population-based retrospective register study

Placenta (Impact Factor: 3.29). 04/2014; 35(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.placenta.2014.02.001

ABSTRACT Introduction
Many complications of pregnancy and delivery are associated with umbilical cord length. It is important to examine the variation in length, in order to identify normal and abnormal conditions. Moreover, the factors influencing cord growth and development are not precisely known.

The main objectives were to provide updated reference charts for umbilical cord length in singleton pregnancies and to evaluate potential factors affecting cord length.

Birth register data of 47 284 singleton pregnant women delivering in Kuopio University Hospital, Finland was collected prospectively. Gender-specific centile charts for cord length from 22 to 44 gestational weeks were obtained using generalized additive models for location, scale, and shape (GAMLSS). Gestational, fetal, and maternal factors were studied for their potential influence on cord length with single variable analysis and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis.

Cord length increased according to gestational age, while the growth decelerated post-term. Birth weight, placental weight, pregravid maternal body mass index, parity, and maternal age correlated to cord length. Gestational diabetes and previous miscarriages were associated with longer cords, while female gender and placental abruption were associated with shorter cords.

Discussion and Conclusions
Girls had shorter cords throughout gestation although there was substantial variation in length in both genders. Cord length associated significantly with birth weight, placental weight, and gestational age. Significantly shorter cords were found in women with placental abruption. This important finding requires further investigation.

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