Marie, my friend Manon told me that when she broke her water with her first baby, she saw a portion of her baby’s umbilical cord exit her vagina. Does this happen a lot? It kind of scares me. Thanks for your help, Luce

Luce, yes, a portion of the baby’s umbilical cord may exit by the vagina when your water breaks. This is called cord prolapse. Prolapse means that the cord slides in front of the baby’s head and exits first.

This situation, even though rare, involves risks and requires emergency care. You can’t give birth to a baby vaginally with the cord coming out first. The umbilical cord provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Given that it is out of place and will eventually be compressed, the doctor has no choice but to remove the baby by performing a cesarean section.

sortir le bébé rapidement par césarienne dans pareille circonstance.


In principle, when your amniotic membrane breaks, the baby’s head or buttocks (when in breech position), act as a barrier for the cord, and it can’t come out first. However, sometimes the baby’s position and the location of the cord mean that the traction exercised by the exiting liquid after the membrane rupture causes the cord to exit first called cord prolapse.

This doesn’t happen very often, Luce. But you should know what to do if it does occur:

  • When you break your water, make sure nothing comes out of your vagina or seems to be blocking the orifice, or if you feel a heartbeat in your vagina;quand tu romps ta poche des eaux, tu regardes si quelque chose
  • If the cord is visible outside or inside the vagina, lay down immediately with your pelvis raised. This reduces downward pressure on the cord, and call for emergency help to get transported to the hospital;
  • If your partner is with you, they can try to push the visible cord inside to reduce pressure and traction. This helps ensure proper blood circulation and the continued provision of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

A woman with cord prolapse should expect to be sent to the operating room on arrival for an emergency cesarean section, usually under general anesthesia to accelerate the surgery.

Luce, I hope this has helped you understand more about cord prolapse, and what to do if it happens to you. Now, trust life, because you are prepared, informed and know what to do if it happens.

All the best,


The Baby Expert 

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