Umbilical Cord Compression Can Cause Harm to Your Child
Learning about childbirth and talking to the doctor can help address any anxieties or concerns that parents may have.
In most cases, labor progresses normally, but problems and complications can occur. Umbilical cord compression is one possible complication that can lead to serious injuries.
During labor, the umbilical cord can become stretched and compressed, which can result in a decrease in blood flow. This can cause periodic changes in fetal heart rate (variable decelerations).
Fetal heart rate monitors can usually detect these abnormalities, so doctors can monitor the fetus for any serious problems.
Need for Physicians to Carefully Monitor Babies With Compressed Cords
Cord compressions are actually pretty common, occurring in about one in ten deliveries. Most times the umbilical cord straightens out and the fetus does not go through any real distress. However, if the fetus shows signs of distress such as decrease of fetal blood pH or heart rate worsens, an emergency cesarean section might have to be performed.
In one unfortunate case, a Florida couple’s son died when he was three years old after a brain seizure. The boy suffered serious and permanent brain injury during delivery when his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, cutting off his blood supply.
The couple filed a medical malpractice claim in 2005 where they were awarded $60.5 million to provide medical care for the child over his lifetime. Their child could not sit, speak, or eat and required constant care including a feeding tube. The baby’s injuries could probably have been prevented if doctors were monitoring the fetal heart rate to look for signs of distress.
If your child suffered an injury during delivery, we would honor the opportunity to speak with you for a free case evaluation. Please contact our offices.
Medicine Net: Childbirth Complications
Pub Med: Umbilical cord compression associated with amniotomy – laboratory observations
Pub Med: Regional cerebral blood flow changes during severe fetal asphyxia produced by slow partial umbilical cord compression
Why is umbilical cord compression a concern for the fetus?
Pub Med: Amnioinfusion for umbilical cord compression in labor