Ever since you became pregnant, you’ve been following your doctor’s instructions to the letter. You haven’t missed a single ultrasound appointment, and everything seems to be running smoothly—but now your doctor mentions that your baby’s umbilical cord is longer than usual. Should you be concerned?
Many babies will have umbilical cord complications, some have no ill effects, and some will ultimately prove fatal. This has to do with the delicate nature of the cord: it carries nutrients to the baby from the mother, carries away the baby’s waste, and also provides oxygen-rich blood to the developing infant.
Here are three of the most common umbilical cord issues:
- Umbilical cord prolapse – This condition takes place during the baby’s delivery. The umbilical cord falls out of the mother’s cervix ahead of the baby, sometimes becoming trapped between the cervix and the baby’s body, restricting the infant’s blood flow. A prolapsed umbilical cord in Kentucky can cause significant lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, causing brain damage, developmental problems, or even a stillbirth.
- Knots in the umbilical cord – Roughly 1 percent of all babies are born with one or more knots in the umbilical cord. Some of these form during pregnancy as the baby moves around in the womb, but most are a result of extra-long umbilical cords. Knotted cords are common in identical twin pregnancies – as twins share a single amniotic sac where it is easy to become entangled. If these knots are pulled tight, the baby's oxygen supply may be interrupted or cut off, resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth.
- Nuchal cord – It is fairly common for children to be born with a nuchal cord, or an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck. Although it looks dangerous, a nuchal cord is less likely to cause problems than knots or a prolapse. However, if excessive pressure is placed on the cord, doctors may recommend cesarean delivery to extract the baby safely.
Your baby will have to be monitored carefully to determine how his cord is affecting his health. If the fetal monitor shows a slowed heart rate, your baby may have to be delivered by emergency cesarean section—and the longer the delivery, the greater the chance that interrupted blood flow will cause injury to the baby.
If your child has suffered a serious injury during delivery, call Gray and White today at 800.634.8767 or fill out the contact form on the top of this page. We can help you investigate what happened in your hospital room and explain your legal options to you in your FREE, one-on-one consultation.