There’s a reason monthly medical exams are a staple of prenatal care in the United States. Both pregnancy and the labor process are dangerous for the mother and her unborn child. Once labor begins, the risk of something going wrong increases.
When a woman’s contractions reach a frequency that indicates she is in active labor, that is usually when she goes to the hospital for medical supervision of her labor and delivery. Although they could have a day or more of labor ahead of them, these women benefit from being minutes away from an operating room.
Women go to the hospital for the birth of their children because they expect the medical professionals there to make the dangerous birth process a little bit safer. Unfortunately, medical professionals who support the labor and delivery process can make serious mistakes. Errors in fetal monitoring are among the most problematic medical oversight during labor and delivery.
Fetal heart monitoring ensures timely intervention
It only takes a few seconds for things to go wrong during active labor. The unborn child might turn in a way that pinches the umbilical cord and prevents them from getting adequate oxygen. The longer they go without enough oxygen, the worse the long-term impact.
The only way to prevent such situations from causing serious birth defects is to register the signs of fetal distress when the heart rate changes and immediately take steps to intervene. A timely C-section could prevent fetal distress from resulting in permanent injury, like cerebral palsy.
Much of the time, fetal monitoring is just a formality. However, it is crucial when something goes wrong for the mother or her baby. If a medical professional doesn’t properly apply a fetal monitor or if they fail to check it, especially if it becomes detached, they might not notice in time when something goes wrong for the baby.
Bad monitoring is contrary to obstetric best practices
To hold a medical professional or facility responsible for malpractice, you must be able to claim that their behavior deviated from the best practices for their specialization. Consistent fetal monitoring is a standard expectation during labor and delivery, especially if there is an elevated risk for complications for any reason.
Understanding that poor monitoring practices could give you grounds for a medical malpractice claim can help you seek justice when a mother or child suffers preventable birth injuries during delivery.