In a lot of cases, pregnant mothers have to face a lot of complications during pregnancy and child-birth. One of the serious types of complications that can occur during labor and delivery is the Umbilical Cord Prolapse. Again, you may have not heard of this term before but it is better to keep yourself aware of it.
In a situation like this, the head of the baby is not engaged in the pelvis. And if the mother has a rupture of the membranes, it leads to the umbilical cord falling and being delivered before the head of the baby.
In simpler terms, it is when the umbilical cord comes out of the uterus either with or before the baby. Although this is not a very common occurrence (happens in only about 1% of pregnancies), yet a little awareness doesn’t harm anyone.
This, however, becomes an emergency situation and once this happens, any part of the baby – whether head, shoulders or the body will possibly cut off the oxygen source for the baby. Eventually, the baby quickly develops hypoxia (a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues). This may even lead to stillbirth of the fetus.
What causes such a situation to occur?
Premature Rupture of Membranes
One of the most common causes of umbilical cord prolapse is premature rupture of membrane or PROM i.e. when the water breaks before the baby gets in its appropriate position for delivery. It is a known fact that if PROM happens before 32nd week, then there is a 32-76% chance of umbilical cord being compressed.
Multiple Deliveries and Hyperactivity
Multiple deliveries can also lead to this situation. Twins, triplets or whatever the case may be, do become hyperactive during birth. So this hyperactivity can, at times, lead to umbilical cord prolapse.
Excessive amniotic fluid
Although this happens rarely but when the mother carries excessive fluid in her uterus, there is a likelihood of the water breaking before the baby is ready for the delivery.
Delivering a breech baby
When there is a breech delivery, in many cases, the doctors advise for a c-sec, however, if vaginal delivery is conducted, chances of the umbilical cord coming out of the uterus first increase.
Complications because of Umbilical Cord Prolapse
There are a number of complications that can arise with umbilical cord prolapse and here are some of them…
When the umbilical cord is compressed, it leads to a change in the heart rate of the baby. The ideal heart rate should be less than 115 bpm but due to variable deceleration this heart rate falls a great deal.
Changes in blood pressure
Compression of the umbilical cord also lead to change in the blood pressure of the baby. This is also caused by fall in the heart rate and lack of oxygen supply.
Decrease in blood flow
Depending upon how long the umbilical cord remains compressed, there is a significant decrease in the blood flow and oxygen to the baby’s brain.
With a compression of the umbilical cord, there is a great risk of brain damage to the baby. When there is lack of oxygen to the baby, it leads to episodes of fetal hypoxia. This can lead to serious complications in baby and sometimes even death. Although this is very rare, your doctor should be able to gauge this possibility too.
Do you have any such experience or suggestions to offer, please feel free to write back.