Birth Injuries

What Is Umbilical Cord Prolapse & Umbilical Cord Compression?

The baby is commonly the first thing delivered during a vaginal delivery. However, there are instances where the umbilical cord is delivered before the baby [1] comes out, which is referred to as umbilical cord prolapse. This is where the cord becomes compressed as the baby is passing through the birth canal, which is a dangerous situation presented in the delivery room. The role of the umbilical cord is to provide important nutrients to the baby, including blood and oxygen. Below are the three types of umbilical cord prolapse:

Overt Umbilical Cord Prolapse: The umbilical cord descends before the baby and is the most common form of umbilical cord prolapse
Occult Umbilical Cord Prolapse: The cord is delivered next to the baby.
Funic Cord Presentation: The location of the umbilical cord is between the fetal part and fetal membranes. The has not passed through the opening of the cervix.
The doctor’s responsibility is to closely monitor the baby if an umbilical cord prolapse is suspected, and if they fail to do so, a brain injury to the baby can be the result. Medical instruments such as the electronic fetal heart monitor can alert doctors of problems with a cord prolapse through a sudden drop in the baby’s heart rate found on the fetal strips.

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