While birth injuries occur in roughly 7 out of every 1000 births, a prolonged and difficult labor can dramatically increase the likelihood of an injury occurring. Babies that are not delivered within 24 hours of water breaking are at a much higher risk of perinatal asphyxia (lack of oxygen during delivery) which can lead to brain injuries. Learn more about difficult labor and birth injury risks in today’s blog.
Perinatal asphyxia is much more likely to occur during a prolonged, difficult birth. It can be caused by:
- Low blood pressure in the mother
- Placental abruption
- Umbilical cord wrapped around the infant’s neck
- Other birth trauma
Perinatal asphyxia damages tissue found in the cerebral cortex, leading to brain injuries such as cerebral palsy. While some cases of mild damage have been known to repair themselves, severe cases of oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent disability, severely limited cognitive abilities, and reliance on medical equipment to assist with basic tasks such as breathing.
Some birth injuries are unavoidable but during a prolonged and difficult birth it is crucial that medical staff take adequate steps to ensure the safety of both mother and child. If the medical staff does not take such necessary precautions then that may provide grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Examples of negligence on behalf of the medical staff include:
- Failure to recognize warning signs of birth trauma
- Improper use of medical equipment such as vacuums and forceps
- Delaying a necessary Caesarian section
- Failure to perform necessary tests
The causes of negligence can vary from an understaffed hospital, improper training of healthcare employees, unforeseen complications arise in delivery, and a variety of other factors. It is incredibly important for hospital staff to constantly monitor labor and delivery so that warning signs can be detected early and handled appropriately.