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Infant risks increase when things go wrong with umbilical cord

There are some things that can go wrong during a pregnancy that doctors may discover early on and treat so the baby’s health is spared. However, some complications may not show up until labor and delivery, or an obstetrician may fail to notice the problem during routine scans and tests. At DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd., we understand how this can be devastating for Rhode Island parents.

You will likely receive several ultrasounds during your pregnancy. During this procedure, a technician or your doctor will look for abnormalities in the placenta and umbilical cord, as well as within the fetus. According to the March of Dimes, some types of umbilical cord abnormalities pose little risk as long as they’re detected early, but others can be fatal for the unborn child. In fact, most complications involving the umbilical cord don’t present themselves until during labor.

For example, babies whose cords have just one artery instead of the usual three may have an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities and heart, urinary-tract and central nervous system defects. Cord prolapse is another problem, which involves the umbilical cord going into the birth canal before the infant. This can cause compression of the cord, cutting off blood and oxygen supply to the baby. The risk of cord prolapse may increase if the baby is breech, during early labor, if there is too much amniotic fluid or if the cord is too long. It may also happen if there are twins or if the doctor ruptures the amniotic sac to begin or speed up labor.

Umbilical cord problems can quickly become a medical emergency. Swift and efficient action by a doctor is usually necessary to avoid a tragedy. To learn more about the risks of labor and delivery, visit our page on birth injuries.

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