[Spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma, a rare cause of acute fetal distress]

Arch Pediatr. 1995 Dec;2(12):1182-3. doi: 10.1016/0929-693x(96)89920-9.
[Article in French]


Background: Spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma is a rare life-threatening gestational accident.

Case report: A 26 year-old primipara was examined at 38 weeks of gestation for fetal monitoring. There were a number of fetal decelerations with loss of baseline variability. Cesarean section performed for acute fetal distress resulted in a male infant with an Apgar score of 3 at 1 minute and 7 at 5 minutes and neonatal anemia (Hb: 11.6 g/l). Four umbilical cord hematomas were observed. Microscopic examination revealed a ruptured umbilical vein without other abnormality. Post natal evolution was marked by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and death.

Conclusion: Spontaneous umbilical cord hematoma is rare (1/5,500 births) and often due to rupture of the umbilical vein. Risk factors are shortness or traction of the cord, post-maturity and infection. Umbilical cord hematomas are usually responsible for severe fetal distress or death.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fetal Distress / etiology*
  • Hematoma / complications*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Umbilical Cord*