What Is Fetal Cord Compression: Umbilical Cord Compression Symptoms

Fetal cord compression happens when the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the fetus’ neck or when it is located between his or her head and the mother’s pelvic bone.

Several things could prove fatal to the child when this happens which include inadequate blood flow to the placenta and a deficiency of oxygen supply to the fetus along with sudden short drops in the fetal heart rate called variable decelerations that vary in intensity, duration, and relation to uterine contraction.

This condition can result to several problems that involves the fetus which include increased risk of cerebral palsy due to the diminished supply of oxygen, fetal malformation, fetal injury, stillbirth, bradycardia, asphyxia, asodilation of the carcass, fetal hypo-tension, arrhythmia, acidosis depletion of glycogen stores, and blunting of the cortisol response.

Fetal Cord Compression Management

  • When the cord is wrapped around the fetus, proper supervision should be done to protect proper circulation of basic life support for the fetus.
  • If the fetal cord is not wrapped around tightly, the doctor can maneuver it out by slipping it over the head during delivery.
  • If the cord is wrapped around too tightly, it may be slipped by the shoulders and the fetus could be delivered through the cord. The cord can be unwrapped around the baby after delivery.
  • If the cord is just too tightly wrapped around the fetus and impossible to be moved, the practitioner could use a maneuver termed as the somersault move to allow safe delivery of the fetus.
  • Cutting and clamping the cord can also be used if the above methods do not work to allow normal delivery.
  • If a medical practitioner is not yet in attendance, the patient could try turn on her left side so as to decrease the pressure off her major blood vessels or she can breathe through a paper bag to increase oxygen flow.

Symptoms Of Umbilical Cord Compression

The medical practitioner could tell whether the fetus is at risk of umbilical cord compression during routine pre-natal checkups. When greater risks are observed, a caesarian section is often recommended even when due date is far away or even during labor. There are several telltale signs that could manifest through ultrasounds:

  • A considerable slowing down or fluctuation of the baby’s heart rate, especially if this happens in episodes or waves—a pattern called deceleration. This can also be spotted during labor with the help of a fetal monitor that regularly checks the baby’s heart rate.
  • Change of the fetus’ pattern of movement or stopping altogether.

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