Cord around the neck – what parents & practitioners should know

evidence-based practice – and particularly the midwifery model of care of non-intervention in normal physiological birth.

Practitioners that respond clinically, not routinely, to a nuchal cord – and with the least intervention possible – are more likely to protect normal physiology and anatomy and avoid iatrogenic injury.

When practitioners begin to observe babies being born with a nuchal cord without intervention, they will also cease to routinely check for nuchal cord – thus sparing women the indignity, pain and distraction of a vaginal exam as their baby is being born.

Until nuchal cord ‘management’ ceases to be routine practice, women are best advised to discuss these interventions with their care providers. Women can insist upon interventions being performed only when required and where supported by evidence. Birth partners and doulas should also be aware of nuchal cord rituals and have a clear understanding of the woman’s preferences for the second and third stages of her labour.