What are the risks of a prolapsed umbilical cord?

By Jason Brady

Mother holding her baby indoors

The main concern associated with a prolapsed umbilical cord is the lack of oxygen being provided to the baby. This can result in birth asphyxia and conditions such as cerebral palsy.

What are the risks of a prolapsed umbilical cord?

In most instances, with the correct medical treatment, a prolapsed umbilical cord will result in no harm to the baby. However, where the prolapse is not identified in a timely manner, injury can occur and a claim for prolapsed umbilical cord compensation is plausible.

The main concern associated with a prolapsed umbilical cord is the lack of oxygen being provided to the baby. This can result in birth asphyxia and conditions such as cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, a lack of oxygen can also lead to the death of the baby. However, it is important to know that this is rare.

What are the risk factors for an umbilical cord prolapse?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict those who may suffer from an umbilical cord prolapse as routine ultrasounds and appointments cannot detect it.

However, there are a number of factors that increase the chances of a prolapsed cord occurring during labour including:

  • If the baby is breech (bottom first)
  • If the baby is transverse (lying sideways)
  • Having more than one baby such as twins or triplets
  • Having more water surrounding your baby than usual -also known as polyhydramnios
  • If your waters break early, or you go into labour prematurely (before 37 weeks)
  • Having a low-lying placenta
  • If you undertake artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) when the baby’s head is higher up in your pelvis. In these instances, it is likely that this procedure will be completed in an operating theatre so that swift action can be taken in the best interests of mother and baby if needed.

It is not possible to prevent an umbilical cord prolapse, however, if the above risk factors are present such as the baby being in a transverse or breech position at 37 weeks, then it may be suggested that you are admitted to the hospital. This would ensure that you have the correct medical care as soon as you may go into labour.

Looking for advice?

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