Knotted Umbilical Cord
Was Your Umbilical Cord Knotted?
The umbilical cord has been described as the baby’s lifeline. It develops from the placenta and is responsible for providing important nutrients to the baby. Disruptions in the transfer of blood and oxygen through the umbilical cord can lead to serious injuries in a baby.
As a baby moves around in the mother’s womb, the umbilical cord can become knotted. If this happens, then there is a threat for a reduced level of blood and oxygen in the baby. When a baby’s oxygen level gets too low, then fetal hypoxia can occur. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which is a reduced level of blood and oxygen, leading to a brain injury, can be the result of a knotted umbilical cord. A subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis can also be the result of a brain injury.
When a mother presents with certain types of risk factors, doctors can test prenatally for the presence of true knots in the umbilical cord. Doctors can use ultrasounds to detect the presence of a knotted umbilical cord. If a doctor fails to order certain tests to detect true knots, and the baby suffers a birth injury because of the failure to perform the tests, a strong argument will be made that the doctor fell below the standard of care, causing the baby’s injury, especially if mother presents with the risk factors which should alert the doctor to test.
What Are Some Of The Risk Factors For A Knotted Umbilical Cord?
Because a knotted umbilical cord can impede blood flow, it is important to understand some of the risk factors which can lead to a knotted cord. Below are some of the risk factors for a knotted umbilical cord:
A Long Umbilical Cord
Multiple Babies (Twins, Etc…)
Older Mother (Older Than 35)
Smoking & Drug Use
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), A Knotted Umbilical Cord, And How Injury Can Occur…
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is essentially defined as a reduced level of blood and oxygen, resulting in a brain injury. For babies who experience a knotted umbilical cord, or a true knot in the umbilical cord, doctors must pay close attention due to what can be at stake if the baby suffers a reduction of blood and oxygen.
In some cases of a knotted cord, the knot is not tight enough to impede the flow of blood and oxygen. However, a knot that starts off not restricting the flow of oxygen can later develop into a knot that in fact does restrict blood and oxygen. This is because as the child develops, he or she begins to move more and more. Flip and spinning movements can lead to a once “loose” knot, tightening. It is at this point that a reduction in blood and oxygen can present itself. Therefore, doctors must take ample precautions when a knotted umbilical cord is detected.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Knotted Umbilical Cord
A mother might notice decreased movement in her baby. As the baby grows, they may slip through a loop in the umbilical cord. After 37 weeks, if there is decreased activity in the baby, a knotted umbilical cord might be the culprit.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of An Umbilical Cord Knot
Doctors can use an ultrasound to diagnose a knotted umbilical cord. Fetal tracings may also suggest the presence of a knot through sudden drops in the fetal heart rate. With that said, the ultrasound can be the best way to confirm or rule out the presence of a knot. Certain risk factors should alert doctors to perform testing to see if the umbilical cord is knotted. Even though many knots form later in the pregnancy, in general, a knot can form at any time.
Decreased fetal movement, the presence of a long umbilical cord, and a male baby can be some of the things which strongly suggest that a knot could be in the cord and that an ultrasound is needed to confirm or rule out the diagnosis. Add to this, when mother is carrying multiple babies, the chances of a knotted umbilical cord increases. Doctors must be aware of these factors, and others, especially when mother is reporting a sudden decrease in movement of the baby.
If fetal hypoxia is suspected due to a knotted umbilical cord, doctors will need to move to a C-Section. Therefore, close monitoring is required for this medical condition. A loose knot can tighten at any time, which can increase the chances of the baby suffering a brain injury.
Did A Knotted Umbilical Cord Cause A Brain Injury In Your Baby?
Certain factors require that doctors must test for a knotted umbilical cord. If doctors fail to identify these factors, and not test, fetal hypoxia, or death can be the result. Mothers who express concern over decreased baby movement will generally explain these concerns to their doctor and look to their doctor for guidance. A strong argument for medical malpractice can be made if doctors fail to act appropriately regarding certain risk factors regarding a knotted umbilical cord and injury occurs.
Boston Law Group, LLC represents victims of birth injury and medical malpractice throughout Maryland. We can help victims in:
Prince George’s County
Anne Arundel County
St. Mary’s County
Did your baby's umbilical cord have knots in it and now your child has a birth injury?
Don’t leave your child’s future challenges to chance.
Download our free birth injury e-book now to learn more.