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2-18. Prolapsed Umbilical Cord

Prolapse of the umbilical cord is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. A prolapsed umbilical cord is one which delivers before the presenting part of the baby. This places the baby in danger of suffocating. The baby's head is pressing against the cord in the birth canal, cutting off the baby's oxygen supply. Perform this emergency care:

  1. Put the mother either in a knee-chest position or supine position with her hips elevated on a pillow.
  2. Administer oxygen to the mother and keep her warm.
  3. With your sterile gloved hand, push the baby's head up into the vagina three to four inches.
CAUTION: Local protocol may not allow this action.
  1. DO NOT attempt to push the cord pack or put pressure on the cord.
  2. Transport the mother to the hospital immediately while you maintain pressure on the baby's head.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015