The umbilical cord is a lifeline between the mother and the baby during pregnancy, providing essential nutrients and oxygen. However, complications can arise involving the umbilical cord, especially during childbirth, that pose risks to the baby and the mother.

Understanding these complications and how medical errors can cause them can help protect your and your child’s rights if a birth injury occurs. If you’re seeking legal guidance and support, a Michigan birth injury lawyer from Fieger Law can help you understand your rights and hold a negligent medical provider accountable.

Most Common Umbilical Cord Complications

Umbilical cord complications can arise from a variety of situations during childbirth. Below are some of the most common dangerous scenarios involving umbilical cord complications:

  • Umbilical Cord Compression: This occurs when the umbilical cord is compressed, restricting blood flow and oxygen supply to the baby. Umbilical cord compression affects approximately 1 in 10 pregnancies. The compression can be caused by factors such as the baby’s position, a prolapsed cord, or a tight nuchal cord (cord around the baby’s neck).
  • Nuchal Cord: This complication happens when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck. It occurs in around 10-29% of pregnancies and can lead to complications such as reduced blood flow and oxygen deprivation during delivery.
  • Umbilical Cord Knots: In some cases, the umbilical cord can form knots, which can tighten during labor, potentially cutting off blood flow to the baby. Umbilical cord knots can have severe consequences if not properly managed and occur in about .3 to 1.3% of pregnancies.
  • Umbilical Cord Prolapse: This happens when the umbilical cord moves down through the open cervix into the vagina in front of the baby during delivery. This occurs in about 4 to 6.2 per 1,000 births and can compress the cord and reduce blood flow to the baby, causing brain damage or death.
  • Vasa Previa: This occurs when the blood vessels in the umbilical cord cross the birth canal entrance beneath the baby, leading to a risk of vessel rupture and fetal blood loss during delivery. It’s relatively rare, occurring in about 1 in 2,000 births, but complicates about 1,830 births annually in the U.S.

The Impact of Umbilical Cord Injuries on Babies and Their Family

Umbilical cord complications during childbirth can cause injuries like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of oxygen deprivation which can lead to conditions like cerebral palsy (CP), developmental delays, and cognitive impairments. They can also cause birth trauma, like brachial plexus injuries, that leave lasting physical damage.

The cost of these injuries can be substantial for babies and their families. They can result in thousands of dollars in annual medical bills, long-term rehabilitation expenses, and specialized care needs. For instance, the cost of caring for a child with CP was estimated at as much as $43,687 per year in 2019, dependent on the severity of the child’s condition.

Witnessing your newborn suffer from complications, especially when a doctor could have done something to stop it, can be emotionally devastating, leading to feelings of guilt, anger, and helplessness. The emotional toll of caring for a child with lifelong disabilities can strain familial relationships and mental well-being.

If you’re suffering emotional or financial losses due to an umbilical complication, you may be able to seek compensation. Our attorneys at Fieger Law can investigate your case to determine if a medical provider’s negligent care caused the injury and help you file a medical malpractice claim against them.

What is a Doctor’s Responsibility for Umbilical Cord Complications?

When doctors identify umbilical cord complications, immediate and appropriate action is crucial. This includes monitoring fetal distress, deciding on the timing of delivery, and potentially performing a cesarean section if necessary to ensure the safety of the baby.

Delayed or incorrect treatment can lead to preventable harm to the infant, resulting in medical negligence. If your doctor or attending hospital staff fail to act within the standard of care for umbilical cord complications, you may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation. This can cover the physical, emotional, and financial damages incurred due to the provider’s improper actions.

Our compassionate team at Fieger Law can provide legal guidance and representation to pursue compensation for your losses. We have won millions for birth injury victims, including one of the largest in the nation, on behalf of a family whose child suffered from severe CP due to their healthcare provider’s negligence.

Safeguard Your Child’s Future with Fieger Law

Umbilical cord complications during delivery can have serious implications for both the baby and your family. If your child suffered injuries due to medical negligence leading to umbilical cord injuries, contact Fieger Law today for a confidential, free consultation and to explore your legal options.