Umbilical Cord Problems Can Contribute To Birth Defects Or Stillbirth

Serious problems can occur if there is an issue with a baby’s umbilical cord. In some cases, a doctor should have been able to detect and treat it.

Anticipating the birth of a child is exciting for Oregon parents. However, most parents also experience some anxiety during pregnancy. What if something goes wrong with the baby’s development or during the labor and delivery process? Some types of birth defects are unavoidable. However, there are other difficulties that may be prevented through quality care, or conditions that can be effectively treated if they are discovered early.

A mistake during pregnancy or delivery can cause lifelong consequences. One of the most common forms of birth error is an issue with the umbilical cord. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a study by the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network found that 10 percent of stillbirths occur as a result of umbilical cord problems.

What can happen?

Problems involving the baby’s umbilical cord can be difficult to detect and often don’t show up or develop until labor, states the March of Dimes. During pregnancy, the cord may become twisted, knotted or wrapped around the baby’s neck. This occurs rarely and usually happens if the cord is longer than usual. The cord may have developed improperly, such as having fewer arteries than the usual amount. Ultrasounds are meant to catch these issues before birth, but it is not always easy for technicians to spot these issues. This may be especially true if the mother is pregnant with multiples.

Another common umbilical cord complication is cord prolapse. This happens when the cord is birthed before the infant. If this occurs, the cord may be compressed and the baby’s oxygen supply cut off. Cord prolapse most frequently occurs in the following situations:

• The vaginal birth of twins

• Early labor

• A breech baby, or feet first

• An overly long cord or too much amniotic fluid

• Rupturing of the membranes performed by an obstetrician to start labor or speed it up

Next to stillbirth, cerebral palsy is another common result of umbilical cord compression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cerebral palsy may develop during the pregnancy, but can also be caused by damage to the baby’s brain, often occurring from a lack of oxygen. The condition usually causes muscle weakness, spasms and balance problems. It is lifelong, although treatment may help. Cerebral palsy is the most common condition affecting motor ability in children.

An attorney may help

In many cases, an umbilical cord problem could have been detected ahead of time, preventing a tragedy. In others, a doctor’s negligence may have contributed, such as unnecessarily rupturing the membranes. An Oregon personal injury attorney with experience in birth injuries may be able to advise parents whose children were harmed after an umbilical cord accident.