You are probably aware of what causes an umbilical cord prolapse. If not, don’t give our article on causes and symptoms of umbilical cord prolapse a miss. So an umbilical cord prolapse could be a life threatening situation if corrective measures are not taken timely. However, this happens to be a rare condition and even so your doctors will be aware if a situation like this is likely to occur and will take the necessary steps. In this article, I will be talking about diagnosis and treatment of umbilical cord prolapse.
Diagnosis of Umbilical Cord Prolapse
- The doctor first takes a good look and evaluates the pregnant woman’s medical history and sees if there’s any possibility. Along with that a physical examination is also done.
- Prenatal ultrasound scans are able to detect any abnormality in the developing fetus. If umbilical cord prolapse is detected, it will show an abnormal position of the cord in the birth canal.
- There are chances for the body to show no signs of a prolapse. However, during delivery, the fetal heart rate can be indicative of a cord prolapse. If there is a prolapse, then the baby might have bradycardia, which means the heart rate of the fetus goes down to less than 120 beats per minute.
- A pelvic examination can also be done by the doctor to diagnose the (extent of) prolapse by feeling the cord with his or her fingers.
These are very obvious diagnosis and tests to check for umbilical cord prolapse. However, there are certain medical conditions in pregnancy that show similar signs. In cases like these, your doctor should be able to advice additional tests to rule out the possibility of any other condition. So let your doctor guide you in this.
Treatment options available for umbilical cord prolapse
- If the diagnosis is made prior to delivery, then the doctor will advise you an elective cesarean section (or C-sec). But if it is only found out during child birth, then an emergency C-sec is carried out.
- If however, your doctor continues with an operative vaginal delivery, then the procedure will have to involve use of techniques such as forceps or vacuum extractor.
Depending on cases to case basis, your doctor advises you on the best course of action to be taken. However, because an umbilical cord prolapse can cause loss of oxygen to the fetus, it is imperative to ensure that proper steps are taken immediately.
Any delay in delivering the baby may cause an irreparable damage to the baby and his brain. However, if timely diagnosis and treatment are done and the problems associated with the cord are solved immediately, the baby runs no risk of permanent damage.
The best option of managing such a case involves immediate delivery if the health of baby is to be considered. And the quickest and safest route, whether vaginal or by C-sec, is taken.
A few intravenous methods in case of umbilical cord prolapse
- Any fetal part presenting outside is manually elevated.
- A lot of times the position of the mother is altered to head down with elevated feet.
- The bladder can also be filled with a foley catheter or tube in order to elevate the fetal part.
- Along with bladder filling, use of tocolytics is done. This means medications are given to the mother to suppress labor.
Even though Umbilical cord prolapse may be a complicated condition to be in, but if timely measures are taken, neither the mother nor the baby face any permanent damage. Get in touch with your doctor at the earliest to rule out any possibility though.