The fetal heart monitor tracing in pregnancies complicated by a spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma

J Perinatol. 2009 Jul;29(7):517-20. doi: 10.1038/jp.2008.247.


The objective of this study is to present and describe the fetal heart rate appearance in pregnancies complicated by an antenatal spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma that resulted in a live birth. Three cases of antenatal spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma are described. All three patients presented with a complaint of decreased fetal movement. The fetal heart monitor tracings on admission are depicted and discussed. In all three cases, the fetal heart rate pattern showed decreased variability with an absence of accelerations. Decelerations were noted but were identified in 25% or less of the contractions and primarily with contractions that exceeded 90 s. Absent accelerations with minimal to absent variability, if caused by uteroplacental insufficiency, usually develop in the presence of recurrent decelerations. Absent accelerations with minimal to absent variability in the absence of recurrent decelerations may suggest other causes including aneuploidy or congenital cardiac or neurologic anomalies. Though rare, spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma can be added to the differential.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiotocography*
  • Cesarean Section
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Hematoma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Umbilical Veins*
  • Young Adult