To determine the prevalence of, and risk factors for anomalous insertions of the umbilical cord, and the risk for adverse outcomes of these pregnancies.
Population-based registry study.
Medical Birth Registry of Norway 1999–2009.
All births (gestational age >16 weeks to <45 weeks) in Norway (623,478 singletons and 11,263 pairs of twins).
Descriptive statistics and odds ratios (ORs) for risk factors and adverse outcomes based on logistic regressions adjusted for confounders.
Main outcome measures
Velamentous or marginal cord insertion. Abruption of the placenta, placenta praevia, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, operative delivery, low Apgar score, transferral to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), malformations, birthweight, and perinatal death.
The prevalence of abnormal cord insertion was 7.8% (1.5% velamentous, 6.3% marginal) in singleton pregnancies and 16.9% (6% velamentous, 10.9% marginal) in twins. The two conditions shared risk factors; twin gestation and pregnancies conceived with the aid of assisted reproductive technology were the most important, while bleeding in pregnancy, advanced maternal age, maternal chronic disease, female foetus and previous pregnancy with anomalous cord insertion were other risk factors. Velamentous and marginal insertion was associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes such as placenta praevia (OR = 3.7, (95% CI = 3.1–4.6)), and placental abruption (OR = 2.6, (95% CI = 2.1–3.2)). The risk of pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and delivery by acute caesarean was doubled, as was the risk of low Apgar score, transferral to NICU, low birthweight and malformations. For velamentous insertion the risk of perinatal death at term was tripled, OR = 3.3 (95% CI = 2.5–4.3).
The prevalence of velamentous and marginal insertions of the umbilical cord was 7.8% in singletons and 16.9% in twin gestations, with marginal insertion being more common than velamentous. The conditions were associated with common risk factors and an increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes; these risks were greater for velamentous than for marginal insertion.