Marginal Cord Insertion – Say What?

Last week we had two OB appointments. The first was early in the week, we had to go get another ultrasound of the bean because they missed some scans – aka he was too active for them to get a few of the pictures. Go figure that I would have a kid that refuses to cooperate. Anyway, at our doctor’s office if you need a second scan from your 20 week ultrasound they send you to a separate specialist’s office, I think because if there was anything that needed to be looked at more in-depth it makes more sense to just have one scan instead of getting the results at the regular doctor and then having to spend more time waiting to schedule an appointment with the specialist. Regardless, everything was fine. The doctor at the specialist’s office came in and said that everything was great, we have an “A+ baby”. Although he did notice something called a “marginal cord insertion”, which means that instead of the umbilical cord inserting into the center of the placenta (the meatiest part), it’s inserted into the side of the placenta. He said that in a small percentage of cases this can affect the growth of the baby but that the bean is growing right on track so we seem to be fine. No worries there, right?

Well, fast forward a couple of days to when we met with our regular doctor (who I love!). She was going over what all of this marginal cord insertion stuff is with us again, and said that if there IS a growth problem, they more than likely wouldn’t see it until the third trimester. I guess it has something to do with how the baby takes up more space in the uterus and somehow isn’t getting enough nutrients from the placenta to grow at a normal rate. I’m not sure if that’s because someone the cord gets a kink (like a garden hose?) or if it’s just that it’s slower to disperse the nutrients from the placenta to the baby. So for now, we’re going in for “growth ultrasounds” every four weeks, which could be increased to every two weeks if they notice anything funky. In the ultimate worst-case scenario, we would have to deliver early and that delivery would more than likely be by c-section. All that being said, there is a very low risk of that happening. From what I can gather it’s about 10% or less of pregnancies that have this situation that actually end up having complications. And my doctor said that she’s actually never had a patient with this type of cord insertion have an issue – so fingers crossed the bean and I won’t be the first ones!

The scary piece of this is that there’s really nothing I can do to decrease the chance of something happening – it just happens to be the way that the cord inserted into the placenta and it happens in about 7% of all pregnancies. Right now I’m focusing on just moving forward with everything like we planned and being happy that the babe is healthy. If an issue DOES arise, we’ll deal with it at that point, but there’s not a lot of sense in worrying until we actually have something to worry about.

Our next scan is actually the Monday after we move, so I’ll have an update after that I’m sure!


  1. 1

    Christine says

    Today I am 20 weeks 5 days and I just had my ultrasound today. They told us that we have marginal cord insertion, but they also said they didn’t have a good view because the baby kept poking her head in the way. How was the rest of your pregnancy? It seems so rare that there aren’t many resources for information on it out there. Much luck!!

  2. 2

    Kristen says

    I had this during my pregnancy and was worried the entire time. It’s worse when you have no way to decrease the chances of anything happening; you’re absolutely right! I had the growth scans right on schedule and everything was fine. I did end up having to have a C-section, but it was completely unrelated to the cord issue. Just trust that everything will be fine. 🙂 I heard a very good quote the other day, “If you imagine the worst case scenario and it happens, you’ve lived it twice!” So, just try to relax and take care of yourself and your little bean will be here, healthy and safe, in no time! –Mine made one year old last week!

  3. 4

    angelica says

    Have any of you had another pregnancy with this issue? I just lost my first but I want to try again but I am so scared that it will happen again.

    • 5


      Ricky, my oldest who had the marginal cord insertion in utero, was born totally healthy. I lost my second to stillbirth due to another blood issue that I have, but wasn’t aware of. And my third was born with no major complications. Good luck, mama!

  4. 6

    Amanda says

    Cortney – Thank you for this post! I had my 20 week ultrasound last week and was told I have marginal insertion as well. My doctor assured me not to worry and told me it won’t affect my pregnancy at all. Naturally, I googled the term when I got home and was surprised to not find much information. I did read a few horror stories that made me cry, but came across your blog post and it really helped! Thank you, thank you thank you!

  5. 7

    Kenethia Calloway says

    I also have marginal cord placenta with my fifth child I’m impregnated with I’m in the 24 week I’m told not to worry . Had a ultrasound today all seemed normal, I see my reg doc Monday for more information just keeping in prayer! Scary but I know God is able!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge