Around one in four babies are born with a nuchal cord. Most of the time, this causes no problems and the baby can be born without intervention. When the cord is short however, and the nuchal cord tight, it may prevent the baby from being born in the usual way with the head going straight out and the body following the same line.
Common ways to handle a tight nuchal cord are to try and pull the loop over the baby’s head or to clamp and cut the cord. Both methods will reduce blood flow to the baby. Pulling at the cord could cause the arteries to constrict prematurely and reduce blood flow before the baby transitions to extra-uterine circulation. Cutting the cord will of course cut off blood flow completely, leading to a potential 30% lower blood volume and heightened risk of anemia compared to delayed cord clamping.
Note that early cord clamping could cause a dangerous situation when the shoulders and body do not follow immediately after cutting the cord. Also, pulling at the cord too hard can cause it to tear.
The somersault maneuver is a minimal intervention that allows a baby with a tight nuchal cord to be born with an intact cord and allow for delayed cord clamping. This maneuver could be performed by the birthing woman herself as well as by a birth attendant.
This website was made to explain the mechanisms of the Somersault maneuver in more detail. Other resources on the maneuver and it's benefits can be found here. The Four F's acronym and the animations were created by the authors of this website to break up the maneuver into steps and explain the mechanism behind the maneuver in more detail. More about the authors and how this project originated can be found here. When referring to the content of this website please use the citations that can be found here.