Umbilical Cord Prolapse
Pronounced: um-BILL-ick-ul cord PRO-lapse
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
The umbilical cord links the baby to the placenta. This is an organ that nourishes the baby. Umbilical cord prolapse is when the cord passes through the birth canal in front of the baby's head. It happens after the membranes have ruptured.
As the baby is born, it puts pressure on the cord. This can lower or cut off blood flow and oxygen to the baby.
This problem is caused by the cord coming out of the womb before the baby's head.
Things that raise your risk are:
The main sign is a change in the baby’s heart rate during birth. You may also be able to see the cord after a membrane rupture.
You have this problem if the doctor sees or feels the cord before the baby is born.
The baby’s heartrate will be checked to make sure it is not too slow.
This problem is treated by:
There are no ways to prevent this problem.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
The Canadian Women's Health Network
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
Holbrook BD, Phelan ST. Umbilical cord prolapse. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2013;40(1):1-14.
Umbilical cord prolapse. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated December 15, 2014. Accessed August 10, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 8/10/2018
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