Bringing a new life into the world is a time of joy for family and friends. We don’t generally concern ourselves with the perils of birthing a baby in the modern world. However, things do go wrong even in well-equipped hospitals and with well-trained doctors. Though rare, one of the most deadly birth injuries in Florida is a prolapsed umbilical cord.
This is when the umbilical cord becomes trapped between the baby’s body and the birth canal, cutting off vital blood and oxygen to the infant. The mother and child are connected through this long, flexible tube that provides the baby with everything it needs for nine months. When the umbilical cord becomes severely stressed, the baby is cut off from all it needs to survive.
The cause of this birth injury can vary, but the most common cause is when the amniotic fluid ruptures through the membrane walls that house it. Other reasons include:
- Premature deliveries
- Delivering more than one child at a time (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Excess amniotic fluid
- Breech delivery (the baby comes through the birth canal feet first)
- An umbilical cord that is unusually long
Umbilical cord prolapsed occurs in approximately one in every 300 births. It is a complication that happens prior to delivery of the baby, when the cord drops ahead of the baby as it begins its way through the birth canal. Doctors must act very quickly and effectively to ensure a safe and healthy delivery when there is a prolapsed umbilical cord.