Umbilical cord prolapse is a rare obstetric emergency that occurs when the cord slips or falls through the cervix into the vagina before or during the birth of the baby. It is an extremely serious problem that threatens the life of the fetus, since oxygen supply can be suppressed due to the occurrence of compression in the cord.
The umbilical cord is the one that ensures the survival of the fetus in the intrauterine cavity. The mortality rate in case of prolapse is between 11 and 17%, the risk being quite high if the necessary measures are not taken to save the life of the fetus.
What are the causes of umbilical cord prolapse?
The main cause of this type of prolapse is premature birth. There are other causes or risk factors that favor this problem:
- more births in the active;
- hydramnios (excessive amount of amniotic fluid);
- abnormal presentation of the fetus (transverse presentations);
- umbilical cord too long;
- premature rupture of membranes;
- multiple pregnancy etc.
What are the symptoms?
She is easily seen by a doctor during a pelvic exam. Sometimes it can be seen with the naked eye in the vagina, at other times it can feel it. A low heart rate of less than 120 beats per minute may be a sign that the fetus is affected by umbilical cord prolapse and may create physician suspicion for further investigations.
What complications can occur?
Complications may occur when the fetus engages at birth and begins to pass into the vaginal canal. The weight of his body will compress the cord, which passes along with it through the vaginal canal and can cause interruption of oxygen administration or even curl around the baby's neck, which can cause death. In these cases, fast birth is required.
How is umbilical cord prolapse treated?
This problem is a medical emergency and should be treated as such. Treatment should be required as soon as possible after the discovery of prolapse. It depends on several factors - the position of the baby, his health and the stage of labor or birth. If the prolapse occurs during birth, then the doctor will hasten the birth.
Sometimes, emergency birth is the only treatment for this type of prolapse and the only method of keeping the baby alive. It can speed up vaginal birth, can call forceps or vacuum or even caesarean section. Although it can be a life-threatening problem, sometimes the umbilical cord may not pose many problems if the prolapse occurs during pregnancy and is not severe.
As long as he is still connected to the fetus and communicates with him the transport of blood and oxygen is ensured. In addition, in some cases during pregnancy this problem is easily corrected when the fetus moves its position or when the doctor intervenes and asks you to change the position.
If you change your position by bringing your feet to your chest or raising your thighs, the pressure at the heart level is removed, and the baby's heart rate returns to normal. Also, the doctor can intervene on the presentation of the fetus and can move it by inserting the hand into the vagina.
The role of the umbilical cord in pregnancy
The umbilical cord is a flexible tube that begins to form around week 5 of pregnancy and reaches its maximum length at 28 weeks. It is he who ensures the connection between mother and baby throughout the pregnancy. It has the role of transporting blood to the fetus and thus feeding it with oxygen and other nutrients essential for growth.
Tags Umbilical cord role Vaginal birth Pregnancy problems Caesarean section