Prolapsed Umbilical Cord

An umbilical cord prolapse is an emergency situation in which the umbilical cord moves through the birth canal before the baby. As the baby comes through the birth canal the umbilical cord is squeezed tight, causing the oxygen and blood to be the cut off from the baby. Umbilical cord prolapse is a statistically rare event that occurs in less than 1% or around 6,000 births each year.

Causes and Risks Factors

A prolapsed umbilical cord can be caused by a few factors:

  • Excessive amniotic fluid
  • Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)
  • An extremely long umbilical cord (over 24 inches)
  • Premature labor
  • Breech delivery (the baby moves through the birth canal feet first)
  • A pregnancy of multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Walking after rupturing the membranes


It is important for the obstetrician to identify the umbilical cord prolapse. In some cases it will be obvious due to the umbilical cord coming out of the vagina. If the baby has bradycardia, a condition where the heart rate goes below 120 beat per minute, the doctor should perform a pelvic examination to check for a prolapsed umbilical cord. During the delivery the obstetrician should monitor the baby’s heart rate using an electronic fetal monitoring device.

After the prolapsed cord is discovered, the first step is often repositioning the mother to relieve the pressure on the umbilical cord. If the doctor is unsuccessful at relieving the pressure then the baby must be delivered immediately. If the labor has progressed enough the doctor may decide to use a kiwi or vacuum device or forceps to aid in the delivery. Generally, if an umbilical cord prolapses an emergency C-section will be performed.

Possible Injuries

If your doctor fails to identify and treat the prolapsed umbilical cord within a timely manner your baby may suffer lasting effects or injuries. Every second without oxygen and blood flow is critical to the unborn child. Some of the possible injuries that can be a result of a prolapsed umbilical cord are:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Brain trauma
  • Still birth or wrongful death of the baby

Call us today.

If your doctor failed to diagnose a prolapsed umbilical cord or did not react to the condition in a timely manner, you may have lawsuit. Contact the attorneys at Powers Taylor today. We provide free consultations and can help you get the justice that you deserve. All calls are confidential.