Umbilical Cord Prolapse and Other Cord Emergencies


Prolapse of the umbilical cord is a true obstetric emergency, and understanding of its predisposing factors can assist in speedy diagnosis and treatment. Although cord compression occurs routinely in normal labors and is commonly seen during fetal heart rate monitoring, severe cord occlusion can result in dangerous alterations in fetal and placental circulation. Historically, the incidence of cord prolapse has been reported as approximately 1 in 300 deliveries. More recently, however, the reported incidence has fallen to about 0.2%, or 1 in 500 of all deliveries, mainly as a result of changing obstetric management, including antenatal ultrasound diagnosis of funic presentation or vasa previa as well as almost universal use of continuous electronic fetal monitoring.”

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