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What Can Go Wrong with the Umbilical Cord Before or During Birth?

Florida parents know how crucial the umbilical cord is to the development of the unborn child in the womb. It's the means by which the child obtains nutrients and oxygen while removing waste. However, things can go wrong with the umbilical cord, particularly during labor and delivery that can be dangerous and even potentially fatal to a baby.

How doctors and other medical professionals respond to these problems during labor and delivery can make all the difference in whether a birth injury results and, if so, how serious it is. Careful monitoring of the mother and fetus throughout the pregnancy can also allow doctors to spot potential issues and respond properly.

Many people are aware of the possibility of the cord getting wrapped around the baby's neck during birth. In fact, nearly a quarter of newborns suffer what is known as "nuchal cord." This is when the umbilical cord is wrapped at least 360 degrees around the neck. While many occur at the time of delivery, some happen earlier in the pregnancy and can be spotted on an ultrasound. Obviously failure of the baby to get adequate oxygen and the impact on the heart rate are major concerns when the cord becomes wrapped around the neck.

Here are some other potential complications:

  • A knotted cord can also affect oxygen intake and heart rate.
  • Sometimes cysts develop in the cord. These can potentially cause chromosomal abnormalities and organ defects.
  • Umbilical cords are supposed to have three arteries. If a cord has only one, the baby could suffer serious birth defects.
  • Something else that can happen when a woman's water breaks is called umbilical cord prolapse. This occurs when the cord moves into the birth canal ahead of the baby. As with some of these other complications, this condition can cause oxygen deprivation.

Close, experienced monitoring of a fetus in utero and during labor and delivery cannot prevent all complications. However, it can help doctors determine if special measures such as a C-section should be employed.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury, it can be difficult to know if it could have been prevented with proper care or even caused by medical error. Our Miami birth injury attorneys have experience helping people develop strong cases against medical professionals and facilities to help get the compensation they deserve. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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