Having a baby should be a happy occasion. Delivering a baby should happen without complications. Sometimes there are problems involving the baby’s umbilical cord that lead to birth injury or death during delivery. When this happens, you may be wondering why and what should you do now. Understanding why umbilical cord related birth injuries may help you decide whether to pursue a birth injury claim for your child.
Umbilical Cord Problems that Lead to Birth Injuries
The umbilical cord is essential to the baby’s health. The cord contains two arteries and a vein that move blood containing oxygen and nutrition to the baby. The cord also removes waste material from the fetus. The umbilical cord is the baby’s lifeline. Sometimes the umbilical cord has only one artery, which causes problems with the baby’s development. Other times the cord may be too short. If the cord is too short, the cord may not have enough give allowing the baby to move and grow. Babies can tear the mother’s placenta when they move around if they are stuck with a short cord.
There are many factors that can cause short umbilical cords including:
- First-time pregnancies
- Short cords are more common with baby boys
- Babies who are small for their age and not growing as expected
- The mother’s weight
- Mother’s who drink or smoke
Doctors must be aware of short umbilical cords. This should be detected as part of prenatal care. This allows the doctor to create the correct birth plan.
Long umbilical cords can also be a problem. Long umbilical cords can fall in the birth canal before the baby moves down for birth. If the cord falls into the baby’s way during delivery, it can harm the child. This is call umbilical cord prolapse. Causes of umbilical cord prolapse include:
- Premature babies
- Multiple births
- Breech babies
Doctors must also be aware of umbilical cord prolapse as part of regular prenatal care. When the mother has a long umbilical cord, doctors often perform a C-section to prevent harm to the baby during delivery.
Liability and Compensation for Umbilical Cord Related Birth Injuries
Your Ob/Gyn must be diligent about prenatal care. Umbilical cord problems, such as a short or long cord, must be detected with an ultrasound before the baby is born. In the event these conditions exist, the doctor must consider a C-section. That C-section, if necessary, should be performed timely to prevent a birth injury. Since the umbilical cord carries the oxygen and nutrition the baby needs, issues with the umbilical cord can lead to serious birth injuries and event infant death.
If your doctor failed to diagnose an umbilical cord problem with your child, you might have a claim. The cost of caring for a child with a birth injury can be great. It may be worth it to seek compensation from the doctor or healthcare professional that failed to properly handle your child’s birth.