When talking to your doctor about pregnancy complications, you may have discussed the topic of umbilical cord problems. There are numerous ways the umbilical cord might be compromised during pregnancy or delivery. Most of these issues are minor, fortunately, and can be addressed through prenatal care or emergency procedures. You and other expectant parents in Maryland should not worry too much about umbilical cord problems, but it can help to know what you might encounter.
The umbilical cord is one of the most important structures during pregnancy, which carries nutrients and oxygen from you to your unborn baby. When the cord is compromised, your baby might become malnourished or suffer from the effects of oxygen deprivation. Serious umbilical cord problems can result in brain damage or the death of the baby. Umbilical compression is a common problem that is caused when the baby’s weight, the placenta or the vaginal walls put pressure on the cord during pregnancy, labor or delivery. In fact, states the American Pregnancy Association, compression occurs in about one out of every 10 deliveries.
Fortunately, the majority of these incidents are mild and not long-lasting. For example, your baby might temporarily put pressure on the cord while moving around during late pregnancy, but moving again can relieve the pressure. During your prenatal visits, your doctor will perform ultrasounds and listen to the baby’s heartbeat to screen for signs of umbilical compression. A monitor during labor and delivery will constantly check for signs of fetal distress. If necessary, your doctor may take measures to hasten delivery or perform an emergency cesarean section.
If you are worried about umbilical cord problems, it may give you peace of mind to talk to your doctor. Competent prenatal care is necessary for your health and safety, as well as your baby’s.