Umbilical Cord Prolapse
What is umbilical cord prolapse?
This condition occurs when the umbilical cord drops (prolapses) between the fetal presenting part and the cervix into the vagina. Umbilical cord prolapse occurs prior to or during delivery of the baby. The overall incidence is reported at 0.16%-0.18% or approximately one in every 300 births.
What is the umbilical cord?
The umbilical cord is a flexible, tube-like structure that, during pregnancy, connects the fetus to the mother. The umbilical cord is the baby's lifeline to the mother. It transports nutrients to the baby and also carries away the baby's waste products. It is made up of three blood vessels – two arteries and one vein.
What are the consequences of umbilical cord prolapse?
Umbilical cord prolapse is an uncommon but potentially fatal obstetric emergency. When this occurs during labor or delivery the prolapsed cord is compressed between the fetal presenting part and the cervix. This can result in a loss of oxygen to the fetus, and may even result in a stillbirth.
What causes an umbilical cord prolapse?
Common causes umbilical cord prolapse include:
- Premature rupture of membranes.
- Preterm labor.
- Multiple gestation pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.).
- Polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid).
- Malpresentation of fetus (breech presentation).