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It is not uncommon to see wasted umbilical cords in growth retarded babies, or bulky cords in macrosomic infants, but there are no published data on the weights of the umbilical cords.
We measured the weight of the umbilical cord of 96 consecutive healthy term (37–40 weeks) infants soon after birth. The length and weight of the cord excluding the first 5 cm from the infant's abdomen was measured after it had been emptied of blood by manual squeezing. Table 1 shows the results.
Mean (SE) weights of umbilical cord, placenta, and the infant were 41.4 (1.7), 590.1 (12.4), and 3445 (42.9) g respectively. There was a significant positive correlation between cord weight and length and placental weight and birth weight.
This is the first known study to measure umbilical cord weight and examine its correlation with placental and birth weight. It supports the common observation that the appearance of the umbilical cord is proportional to the baby's size at birth. Total cord weight is dependent on cord length, which in turn is greatly influenced by fetal movements.1, 2 The value of the study would be enhanced by including parallel data on the weight of the cord per unit of its length.