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An umbilical cord problem can cause serious injuries


The birth of a child is an excited event for families in Pittsburgh. The anticipation and planning that precedes the birth goes on for months. Most births go as planned but occasionally a birth injury occurs that is very serious. One issue that does happen involves umbilical cord accidents.

Stillbirth is one of the most traumatizing events new parents can go through. When a baby doesn't survive it can cause extreme emotional stress on parents and the family. Umbilical cord accidents happen in about 10 percent of stillbirth cases. Umbilical cord accidents can also cause other serious injuries to the infant including lack of oxygen resulting in brain damage. Umbilical cord accidents include the cord being wrapped around the baby's neck, a ruptured blood vessel in the cord and the cord becoming knotted.

In order to reduce umbilical cord accidents screening is recommended. The screening should include measuring the baby's heartrate, evaluating the appearance of the umbilical cord to look for the proper twisting. It may also be helpful to determine if hiccups occur in the fetus more than four times per day or if the fetus exhibits quite a few jerking movements. These may indicate that there is a problem with the umbilical cord and the mother should be evaluated.

It is important for medical providers to screen expecting mothers for umbilical cord accidents and to recognize the signs of something being wrong with the umbilical cord. The failure to recognize symptoms by a negligent doctor can lead to serious injuries in the newborn or even a stillbirth. In cases of negligence, the doctor may be held financially responsible.

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, "Umbilical cord accidents," Jason H. Collins, Aug. 28, 2012

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