The last thing any pregnant mother expects is that their child will sustain an injury during the birthing process. However, the delivery of a baby is a serious medical procedure, and complications do occur. Some of these complications and birth injuries revolve around the umbilical cord. Even though the umbilical cord is the life-giver for a child in the womb, it can become a serious obstacle when delivery begins (or even before it begins). Here, we want to examine some of the most common umbilical cord-related birth injuries that occur.

Common Umbilical Cord Issues

There are several types of problems that can occur with the umbilical cord during the delivery process. 

  1. Umbilical cord compression. The umbilical cord compression can occur if any type of pressure partially or completely stops the flow of blood through the cord. Babies can survive for short periods of time when this occurs, but if adequate blood flow is not reestablished, the baby could suffer severe birth injuries.
  2. Nuchal cords. This is the medical term for when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped one or more times around a baby’s neck while the baby is in the womb. A nuchal cord occurs in a significant percentage of all deliveries, and medical professionals typically know how to handle this situation. This type of umbilical cord issue is usually caused by the baby’s movement when they are being delivered. This is typically detectable by electronically monitoring the baby’s heart rate. 
  3. True knots. This is the term to describe what happens when the umbilical cord becomes twisted like a knot in a rope. These knots can form due to the baby’s movement within the womb. Typically, medical professionals remain alert for decreased activity during the pregnancy, as this could indicate that there was a true knot.
  4. Umbilical cord prolapse. A prolapsed umbilical cord means that the umbilical cord has moved into the birth canal either before or alongside the baby during the delivery process. In an ideal delivery situation, the umbilical cord follows the baby out, but a prolapsed umbilical cord is a dangerous condition that could lead to asphyxia or other birth injuries.
  5. Short umbilical cords. If a baby’s umbilical cord is too short, then any movement the baby makes could stretch or tear the cord or the placenta inside of the mother. This could lead to a placental abruption. Unfortunately, this can cause significant birth injuries to the baby as well as hemorrhaging inside of the mother.
  6. Vasa previa. This describes what happens when fetal blood vessels move outside of the umbilical cord and into the amniotic sac membranes. When this occurs, the vessels are at risk of rupturing during the labor and delivery process, leading to massive blood loss for the baby.
  7. Umbilical cord infection. If the empirical cord becomes infected, this infection could spread to the placenta, the fetus, or the amniotic sac fluid.

Not all of these issues will necessarily be the fault of a medical professional, and we strongly encourage you to reach out to an attorney if you think the actions of a doctor, nurse, or any member of the delivery team caused the umbilical cord related birth injury. A skilled Los Angeles birth injury attorney will handle every aspect of your case, including examining what happened to cause the birth injury, working with trusted medical experts who can also provide witness testimony, and properly calculating total expected damages.