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Birth injuries: Umbilical cord compression

During a pregnancy, doctors, medical professionals, and high-tech medical facilities are there for us -- just in case something goes wrong. Indeed, millions of babies lives have been saved -- and also the lives of mothers -- due to the swift and reliable actions of our nation's medical industry.

One of the most common problems that doctors are trained to look for is known as umbilical cord compression. This is a complication of pregnancy where the umbilical cord gets flattened by pressure. This flattening can cause serious health risks for the baby and is extremely dangerous if left untreated. However, it is easy to know when umbilical cord compression has happened, and fast treatment of the condition can save a baby from permanent and lasting injuries and lifelong disabilities.

Treatment of umbilical cord compression depends on whether the mother has already gone into labor or not. Treatment during labor might include oxygen supplied to the mother and additional fluids being given to the mother, which can help the oxygen reach the infant. In other cases, it might be necessary to perform an emergency Cesarean section. This emergency C-section will probably be performed immediately following signs of actual infant distress.

Other treatment options could be more simple. For example, simply changing a mother's position from one side to the other could relieve the compression. In other cases, a physician might be able to put his or her finger through the cord and untangle it. In still other cases, physicians might determine that the infant needs time to recover and administer medication to halt contractions and pause the delivery process.

The most important thing to remember about umbilical cord compression is that it needs to be treated immediately and it needs to be handled as an emergency situation by medical staff. If a mother and her baby are suffering from umbilical cord compression and doctors do nothing to resolve the situation, a permanently disabling birth injury could result. Numerous claims have been successfully made in Connecticut against doctors who failed their patients in this regard.

Source: Birth Injury Guide, "Umbilical Cord Compression," accessed March 25, 2016

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