Even if your pregnancy is completely smooth sailing, complications can occur during labor. Some complications of childbirth include abnormal presentation, prolonged labor, and umbilical prolapse. These are explained below.
This occurs when your baby is not positioned correctly in the birth canal. The normal presentation for labor is with the babies head facing down and towards your back with its chin tucked into its chest. This position ensures that the smallest part of the babies head enters the birth canal first. Abnormal presentations include breech, which is where the babies legs enter the birth canal first. Another abnormal presentation could involve the baby facing down but facing towards your stomach instead of your back. Cephalopelvic disproportion is where the babies head is too big to fit through the birth canal for a normal labor. Abnormal presentation can lead to injury to the mother or baby. Your doctor will examine you in the weeks leading up to your due date to assess the presentation of your baby and will be able to decide on the appropriate course of action if the presentation does not correct itself before birth.
Prolonged labor occurs most in women who are giving birth for the first time. It is a rare complication, but a labor that takes too long can lead to inherent risks to mother and baby such as infections. In these situations, doctors sometimes have to resort to an emergency cesarean, especially if mother and baby are in distress.
Umbilical prolapse occurs when part of the umbilical cord protrudes out of the cervix and enters into the birth canal before the baby before or during labor. The cord can even protrude from the vagina, in which case, it would be noticeable. This is potentially dangerous as it can lead to the cord being strangulated which would cut off the nutrient supply to your baby. If you notice this has happened, call an ambulance immediately or seek urgent medical attention.
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