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The dangers of umbilical cord compression

It is natural for any parent to have concerns leading up to a delivery. Not only are there fears around the actual delivery, but -- pain aside -- many also worry about any potential complications that could happen during the delivery. Will the doctors and nurses know as soon as an issue arises? Will they know what to do? Will the baby be OK?

One such complication you may have heard of is umbilical cord prolapse. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this is when the cord descends into the birth canal, before the baby, during labor. This leads to a compression of the umbilical cord, which comes with a host of potential complications. With a diagnosis of umbilical cord prolapse, the birth plan should change to a C-section immediately.

Umbilical cord prolapse is one cause of umbilical cord compression. Umbilical cord compression, though, may be more common than many realize. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association reports that one in 10 deliveries involve umbilical cord compression, with the majority of these happening during the actual labor. While most of these cases are mild, without as much concern, there are other cases where the compression can lead to real injuries, as oxygen and nutrients can be cut off from the baby for an extended period of time, leading to brain damage, fetal hypoxia and even death.

Doctors and nurses should be able to tell, though, if something is going wrong during labor, as the fetal monitor strip would show heart rate decelerations. While this is normal during contractions, medical staff should be able to tell the difference between what is normal and what is a legitimate medical issue.

Sadly, sometimes mistakes happen and a diagnosis is delayed, leading to injuries. In these types of cases, it is important for any patient to know they have certain rights, including the right to hire an attorney. This attorney can further investigate what happened and help to build a case as to why the pediatric team should be responsible.

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