For many women, giving birth is an easy, simple and happy experience with few or no complications. For other women, though, unexpected complications during labor make delivery more traumatic -- and more dangerous. The following are considered some of the most common complications during labor:
Shoulder dystocia is one of the most common complications during labor and delivery, yet it is often confused with a birth injury. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulders become stuck in the mother’s pelvis, preventing the baby from exiting the birth canal. To alleviate shoulder dystocia, forceps, a vacuum extractor or manual force may be used, often resulting in a brachial plexus injury.
Fetal distress occurs when something happens that puts the baby in a distressed state, typically characterized by low oxygen levels or an irregular heartbeat. When fetal distress is severe, it’s essential that the health care provider act immediately. If fetal distress is not addressed, the baby may suffer from a birth defect, such as brain damage, due to lack of oxygen.
When a baby is in breech position, the baby’s head is not positioned in an optimal place for vaginal delivery. Instead, the baby may be head up, bottom down, have his or her feet down, or otherwise be in a position in which delivery is dangerous. Sometimes actions can be taken to encourage the baby to turn on his or her own, like repositioning the mother. Other times, an emergency cesarean section may be required.
Nuchal Cord Complications
If a nuchal cord complication occurs, this means that the umbilical cord has become wrapped around the baby’s neck. A nuchal cord complication is relatively common, and in one study that assessed 167 deliveries, the nuchal cord complicated 23.7 percent of deliveries, according to a study published in The Journal of Family Practice. Sometimes a nuchal cord complication doesn’t mean the baby is in immediate danger while other times, action must be taken to remedy the situation quickly. If the latter is true, then pushing the baby through the birthing canal as fast as possible may be necessary, or an emergency cesarean section must be performed.
Placenta previa is a dangerous condition when immediate action isn’t taken to alleviate it. When placenta previa occurs, the placenta is pushed to the opening of the cervix, leading to severe bleeding. If the mother is bleeding heavily, then a cesarean section should be scheduled immediately to prevent a dangerous amount of blood loss. In some cases, placenta previa will correct itself without medical intervention, and the mother can have a vaginal birth as planned.
When a Complication During Labor Leads to a Baby’s Harm
The complications listed above can be unexpected, but all are correctable when the proper action is taken. Sometimes, though, failure to monitor a pregnant woman properly during labor or failure to act quickly if a complication is noticed can lead to a baby’s (and mother’s) harm. When this happens, the obstetrician or midwife responsible for delivering the baby may be held liable for damages if it’s found that he or she acted negligently or did something that another medical professional in his or her position would have done differently.
An Attorney Can Help After Complications During Labor
Nothing is worse than knowing that your baby could have been protected but was harmed because a medical professional didn’t do his or her job properly. If this happened to you and your child, you’re not alone -- the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC can provide you with the legal support you need. We understand that filing a claim for damages can be a hard thing to do and is very emotional. However, we also understand the law and know that you deserve to be compensated if your baby’s been harmed due to negligence during childbirth. To learn more about negligence and medical malpractice law, call our offices at 215-642-2335 now.