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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Nov;30(6):861-6.

Large cross-sectional area of the umbilical cord as a predictor of fetal macrosomia.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Insubria, Del Ponte Hospital, Varese, Italy.



To determine whether a large cross-sectional area of the umbilical cord is a predictor of fetal macrosomia.


Consecutive patients of > 34 weeks' gestation, who presented for sonographic examination and who delivered within 4 weeks of the examination, were included in the study. The sonographic cross-sectional areas of the umbilical cord, the umbilical vessels and the Wharton's jelly were measured in a free loop of the umbilical cord. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine significant predictors of macrosomia (actual birth weight > 4000 g and > 4500 g). Fetal biometric parameters (biparietal diameter, abdominal circumference and femur length), sonographic estimated fetal weight and umbilical cord area > 95(th) centile for gestational age were used as covariates.


During the study period, 1026 patients were enrolled. Fifty-three (5.2%) newborns had a birth weight > 4000 g, and 22 (2.1%) weighed > 4500 g. The proportion of cases with a large umbilical cord was significantly higher in the group of macrosomic compared with non-macrosomic infants (54.7% vs. 8.7%, P < 0.0001). Multiple regression models demonstrated an independent contribution of the large cord in the prediction of birth weight > 4000 g and > 4500 g (odds ratio (95% CI), 20.6 (9.2-45.9) and 4.2 (1.2-17.7), respectively). The sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values of a sonographic large umbilical cord were 54.7%, 91.3%, 25.4%, and 97.4%, respectively. The combination of abdominal circumference > 95(th) centile and large cord predicted 100% of macrosomic infants. The proportion of umbilical cords with a Wharton's jelly area > 95(th) centile for gestation was significantly higher in macrosomic fetuses of diabetic compared with non-diabetic mothers.


Sonographic assessment of umbilical cord area may improve the prediction of fetal macrosomia.

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