The results show that the varied appearance of the umbilical cord at birth can be related to its water content and that there are associated changes to be seen histologically in all layers of the cord, but especially in Wharton's jelly. Quantimet analysis confirms these findings and highlights a small group where dual pathology may exist. The relationship between oedematous cords, large drip volume, and respiratory distress in the newborn is considered, and a possible explanation for reduced placental transfusion and low red cell mass in these babies is proffered.
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