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Single Umbilical Artery (SUA)

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Being pregnant is such a glad and exciting moment in every woman's life!! Nature has blessed women with a particularly complex anatomical structure and lots of strength to nurture and bring a new life on this earth. It seems like miracle when you hear baby's heartbeat, feel your baby's kick and when you see that scan image of your baby! It is a life changing experience for first time parents. When the baby is born, the mother forgets all the body changes, morning sickness, tiredness, bulkiness, insomnia, fluctuating BP levels, several GP check-ups, medicines and labour pains which she has faced during journey of her pregnancy. That feeling is so thrilling!

My pregnancy also started with such excitement & the usual "hardships" that come along :) I suffered from morning sickness and tiredness initially. At my first scan at 13th week, as first time parents, my husband and I were very much eager to see first glimpse of our baby via scan images. The second trimester brought along loads of energy and zeal. The morning sickness disappeared like smoke in the air.

 At the second scan at 20th week, our happiness converted into big concern when radiologist told that I have a condition called Single Umbilical Artery (SUA).

What is Single Umbilical Artery (SUA)?

The umbilical cord connects a baby in the womb to its mother. It runs from an opening in your baby’s stomach to the placenta in the womb. The average cord is about 50cm (20 inches) long. The placenta is an organ attached to the lining of your womb during pregnancy. It keeps your unborn baby’s blood supply separate from your own blood supply, as well as providing a link between the two. The link enables the placenta to carry out functions that your unborn baby can’t perform for itself. The placenta is linked to your baby by the umbilical cord. In the placenta, oxygen and food from your bloodstream pass into your baby's bloodstream and are carried to your baby along the umbilical cord. Blood circulates through vessels in this cord, which consists of: one vein that carries blood rich in oxygen and nutrients from you to your baby two arteries that return deoxygenated blood and waste products, such as carbon dioxide, from your baby back to the placenta.

Most women have one vein and two arteries in the umbilical cord. In the case of SUA, there is only one artery and one vein. In 75% of such cases, the baby is entirely normal and healthy. But in the remaining 25% cases, sometimes there are life threatening risks such as baby may have heart, kidney or skeletal problems. SUA baby growth as per gestation period is generally slow as compared to normal baby.

If no other congenital abnormalities are detected apart from SUA (isolated SUA), then this should not be a reason for concern at all - luckily the case for our baby! A single artery alone does not necessarily indicate a problem for the baby. The single artery is enough for the baby to be born healthy. This is because the our body is intelligent and tries to compensate for the missing artery, just as when one of our kidneys fails the other one takes up and tries to make up. So if all other checks indicate normal growth of the baby, it is safe to ignore this condition and enjoy the bliss of nurturing a lovely baby inside you.

When SUA is detected, mostly an additional scan called Growth Scan is done at around 32nd week of pregnancy to check baby's growth. So the radiologist booked an additional scan appointment for us at 32nd week - which seemed like so far away at that time!

Since then my constant focus has been to eat well, exercise regularly and think positive & healthy so that my baby gets sufficient nutrients. Fortunately I have been gaining adequate amount of weight every month and my pregnancy has progressed well. As the Blessed Buddha said "All that we are is a result of what we have thought”. I have always kept my thought process healthy and positive.

On the day of 32nd week scan, we took a sigh of relief when the radiologist told us that baby is growing well and weighed around 4 pounds. Hopefully everything will be fine during my delivery and a beautiful healthy baby will be in my arms.

Do share your pregnancy experience and any other information that you would like to share :) :)



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