Birth Complications

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Expecting parents and their doctors always hope that the birth of their child and the birthing process go smoothly and are complication free. However, many times birth complications occur, some of which are unavoidable and some of which could have been prevented. Birth complications may result in the injury of babies; some injuries that occur may heal within a relatively short period of time, while others may result in permanent damage and long-term disabilities. Birth complications can be limited by the proper care and attention a mother receives during pregnancy from a qualified obstetrician.

One type of birth complication, a relatively uncommon complication of birth, is fetal distress. Fetal distress occurs when a fetus suffers from asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen. This may occur if a pregnancy goes too long, or if there are complications during labor. Typically, doctors can identify fetal distress by monitoring the fetus' heart rate. This is usually done using a fetal heart monitor or an ultrasound device throughout the course of labor. If there are signs of fetal distress, doctors may give the mother oxygen, increase the amount of fluids the mother receives intravenously, or turn the mother on her left side. If these steps do not work, the doctor may have to use forceps, a vacuum, or a caesarean section to deliver the baby.

Occasionally, an infant may be injured by the forceps or vacuum. Also, if doctors miss signs of fetal distress, it is possible for the infant to suffer from brain damage as a result of the lack of oxygen. Injuries sustained from the forceps or vacuum typically heal in a matter of weeks or months, but may leave permanent damage and result in a disability such as cerebral palsy.

Abnormal position of the fetus is another complication that may occur during birth. The normal position of the fetus when ready for delivery is the top of the head position down, the baby facing backward. When an infant is in a position other than this, it is considered abnormal and is a complication. Doctors may try to move the baby with their hands; however, on occasion it is necessary to use the forceps, vacuum, or a caesarean section to deliver the baby. As noted before, the forceps and vacuum can result in injury. Generally, those injuries heal in a short period of time, but injuries can potentially leave long-term damage, particularly in cases where the medical instruments were not used correctly, such as if the vacuum was misplaced on the infant's head.

Another complication of birth that occasionally occurs is shoulder dystocia. This happens when one of the baby's shoulders is lodged against its mother's pubic bone, essentially making the baby stuck in the birth canal. When this happens, the baby cannot breathe because its chest and umbilical cord are pressed against the birth canal. This is a complication that is more common with larger infants. It may also be seen in women who have diabetes, are obese, or have had a previous birth with shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia is a serious emergency during birth and requires doctors to work quickly to correct the situation so the baby can be delivered and receive oxygen again. Doctors may use a variety of techniques to move the baby to ease it out of the birth canal; make an incision in the mother's vagina to widen the opening, or push the baby back into the vagina so they can perform a caesarean section. If a doctor does not move quickly enough, or does not use the proper techniques, there is a chance that the baby may suffer from an injury. In some instances nerve damage may occur, which may be temporary or permanent. Also, if the doctor does not move fast enough, the baby may be deprived of oxygen for too long and the brain may be damaged.

If you had complications during birth and your infant received injury as a result, particularly an injury that resulted in long-term damage or disability, it is important to seek legal assistance. An attorney will help guide you through the legal process, assessing your medical records and details of your labor to determine if you can make a claim. If you can make a claim, the lawyer will need to prove that there was a breach in the standard of care given, injury, causation, and damages. This can be difficult to do, but if your baby was injured, it will be beneficial to you.

Remember, as your child's parent, you have the right to seek the compensation your child is due. You may be facing a hard road full of medical bills, doctors visits, and therapy appointments. It is in your child's best interests to seek the help of a personal injury attorney to get the compensation you deserve and the justice you are owed.


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