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How can umbilical cord mishaps increase risk of infant harm?

Like most expectant parents in Massachusetts, you are probably just as anxious as you are about the impending birth of your baby as you are excited. What if something goes wrong? Fortunately, many of today’s tests can detect an abnormality before the baby is born, giving infants with potential birth defects a better chance. However, some complications don’t often show up until labor and delivery, when swift action is vital and one mistake can end in a tragedy.

Information provided by the March of Dimes states that umbilical cord problems usually don’t present themselves until labor. One potential complication involves cord prolapse. This occurs when the umbilical cord goes through the birth canal before the baby does, which can lead to compression of the cord. In turn, compression can cut off the baby’s blood supply and result in serious medical conditions or stillbirth. The most common risk factors of cord prolapse include:

  • Twin vaginal births
  • Baby in the breech position
  • Preterm labor
  • Too much amniotic fluid or a cord that’s too long
  • The doctor rupturing the membranes to start up labor or speed it along

It is important that you understand the risk factors of an umbilical cord abnormality or emergency to increase the chances of your labor being safe and successful. Early detection of many prenatal defects and abnormalities is crucial, but so is the effective intervention of your obstetrician in the event of an emergency. This information should not serve as legal advice, but should help you understand some of the risks of pregnancy and delivery.

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