Skip to main content

Back to patient information homepage

Umbilical cord prolapse in late pregnancy

Published: 03/07/2015

The umbilical cord connects the baby from its umbilicus (tummy button) to the placenta inside the womb (uterus). The cord contains blood vessels that carry blood, rich in oxygen and nutrients, to the baby and take waste products away. After the baby is born, the cord is clamped and cut before the placenta is delivered.

An umbilical cord prolapse happens when the umbilical cord slips down in front of the baby after the waters have broken. The cord can then come through the open cervix (entrance of the womb).

This information tells you:

  • Why umbilical cord prolapse is an emergency
  • Whether cord prolapse can be predicted or prevented
  • When a cord prolapse is more likely happen
  • Signs of a cord prolapse
  • What you should do if you think you have had a cord prolapse
  • Treatment options
  • What a cord prolapse could mean for your baby

This information is based on the RCOG guideline Umbilical Cord Prolapse.

Give us your feedback

If you have recently read one of our leaflets, please give us feedback by completing this short questionnaire