An umbilical cord is a tube-like cord that connects a baby to its mother while in the womb. It's responsible for carrying blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the fetus from the mother's placenta. Problems with the umbilical cord can be hazardous to the baby's health, and sometimes can lead to death. According to MedicalNewsToday, a nuchal cord is a medical term used to describe how the umbilical cord wraps around a baby's neck. It can happen while the baby is still in the womb or while giving birth.
Nuchal cords occur in approximately twenty-five percent of all births, according to studies. They are more likely to happen at the time of delivery but can occur as early as 24-26 weeks of gestation.
The leading causes of nuchal cords include:
- Excessive fetal movement
- An unusually long umbilical cord
- Weak cord structure
- Too much amniotic fluid
- Having twins or multiple babies
What is the likelihood of a nuchal cord causing a birth injury?
Nuchal cords can reduce the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby while in utero, resulting in injuries to the brain or other organs. This can lead to life-long health conditions that can impact the quality of a baby's life. The length of the umbilical cord can be a major factor. For example, a longer cord can wrap around a baby's neck multiple times.
A study posted in the American Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology found that nuchal cords with three loops happen in about 0.6 percent of all births. A baby's heart rate may reflect the deprivation of blood and oxygen.
The most common birth injuries associated with nuchal cords include:
- Hypoxia: Research has linked nuchal cords and other umbilical cord complications with birth asphyxia, which can lead to developmental delays, epilepsy, and other cognitive and physical complications.
- Cerebral palsy: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites umbilical cord complications as a cause of cerebral palsy, a condition that affects cognitive and physical functioning.
- Stillbirth: In certain situations, a nuchal cord can cause complications even leading to stillbirth.
Are nuchal cords preventable?
There is currently no known way to prevent nuchal cords from occurring. While unpreventable, a doctor's or nurse's failure to properly manage a nuchal cord complication can result in permanent injury.
Failure to recognize these signs and intervene could lead to serious or life-threatening injury to the baby.
If your child has sustained an injury because medical staff failed to act appropriately, your family deserves justice. Contact the birth injury lawyers at Goldberg & Schulkin Law Offices today to learn how we can help.