Umbilical Cord Entrapment

Umbilical Cord Entrapment (also called a nuchal cord) is when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck just before or during birth. This happens in about 25% of births. A nuchal cord can cause harm to a baby, especially if the cord is tight around the neck, is wrapped around the neck more than once, or where low amniotic fluid permits cord compression. If this happens, the fetus will become distressed. Failure to recognize nuchal cord and fetal distress may be malpractice and may cause irreparable harm to the baby.

Other potential umbilical cord complications include prolapse (when the umbilical cord slips into the vagina ahead of the baby) and vasa previa (when an umbilical cord blood vessel crosses the cervix under the baby and is torn). In these circumstances, a baby may experience fetal distress due to poor blood flow and inadequate oxygen. Many times, fetal distress is marked by accelerations or decelerations of the fetal heart rate.

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