As you probably know, the umbilical cord is an important structure during pregnancy that delivers oxygen and nutrients to your unborn baby. In most pregnancies and deliveries, everything is fine with the umbilical cord. However, you and other pregnant women in Washington might not realize that mild umbilical cord compression occurs at least once in many pregnancies. In some cases, a compression of the umbilical cord might cause complications, including the risk of brain damage to the baby.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, about one in every 10 deliveries involve mild umbilical cord compression. This occurs when the baby’s weight or labor contractions press on the cord, temporarily slowing or cutting off oxygen and nutrients. Usually, the compression is relieved within moments and no harm is done. During labor, your baby will be monitored for signs of distress, such as a decreased heart rate due to prolonged cord compression. If this occurs, you doctor may try to relieve the compression or perform an emergency C-section.
Umbilical cord compression might also occur during the last months of your pregnancy, as there is less room for your baby to move about. He or she might press against the cord. Fortunately, once your baby moves again, the pressure is usually released. It is important to regularly see your doctor during the late stages of your pregnancy to check for signs that the umbilical cord is being compromised. It is also important that your doctor is competent in recognizing and treating the potential problems of umbilical cord compression and other complications that may occur during pregnancy and childbirth.