Your pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in your life. However, like other expectant mothers in Ohio, you worry about something going wrong during the pregnancy or delivery. Umbilical cord compression might be one of the concerns on your list.

What exactly is umbilical cord compression? The American Pregnancy Association describes this as pressure on the cord that supplies oxygen and nutrients to your developing baby. Mild umbilical cord compression occurs in about one in 10 labors in the United States, but fortunately, more serious instances are rare. During labor, the baby’s weight or uterine contractions may briefly press on the cord, which can cut off the flow of oxygen and nutrients for a few seconds, but doctors consider this a normal occurrence and not a cause for concern in most cases.

Problems with the umbilical cord

However, in rare instances, the umbilical cord can develop problems during pregnancy or while the baby is being born. Your obstetrician should begin monitoring the umbilical cord during your regular prenatal visits. He or she may observe the cord’s position and development during ultrasound exams, as well as listen to the fluid rushing through the cord with a stethoscope. It may put your mind at ease to know that your doctor has the training to see and hear signs that the cord is not developing properly or may be at risk of compression. If your medical team detects a problem, they should be able to take steps to correct the issue.

Careful monitoring of the umbilical cord will continue during labor and delivery. You may need to have your labor expedited or an emergency cesarean section if your obstetric team detects signs of a compromised cord or any distress to the baby.

Importance of prenatal care

The medical care you and your unborn infant receive during pregnancy and delivery is essential. Quality, experienced care raises your chances of having an uneventful pregnancy and a safe delivery for both you and your baby.