Umbilical cord entanglement’s frequency and its impact on the newborn

Tatjana Walla, Markus A. Rothschild, Jan C. Schmolling, Sibylle Banaschak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Neonaticide is a serious allegation that needs a complete chain of criminal investigations. In this context, a nuchal cord is considered to be responsible for an infant’s death, but there is a clear lack of evidence. The purpose of our study is to reveal if a nuchal cord can be responsible for stillbirth, poor perinatal outcome, or neonatal death in the forensic aspect. We conducted a prospective study in collaboration with the Augustinian Sisters’ Hospital in Cologne, Germany in the period from February 2014 to May 2016. Four-hundred eighty-six children were enrolled. All births were assessed regarding the occurrence of an umbilical cord entanglement, and perinatal outcome was measured by arterial blood gas analysis, Apgar after 1, 5, and 10 min after birth as well as the general vitality. The prevalence of a nuchal cord was 16.87%. Apgar decrease and acidosis were significantly associated with a nuchal cord. No adverse perinatal outcome was recorded in this constellation. There was no child death regarding the first 24 h, and no mother experienced a syncope while giving birth. We can conclude that a nuchal cord is not associated with adverse perinatal outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-752
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse perinatal outcome
  • Neonaticide
  • Stillbirth
  • Umbilical cord entanglement


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