One of the potentially fatal complications of PROM for the baby is umbilical cord prolapse. (The term 'prolapse' means 'pushing out of the proper place'.) When the membranes rupture, the umbilical cord may be washed downwards by the rushing out of amniotic fluid and fall towards the vagina. It may be pushed ahead of the baby and push out into the cervix (see Figure 17.1) through the break in the membranes. In this position, the prolapsed cord is easily compressed, cutting off the blood supply to the fetus and this can be the cause of sudden fetal death.