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3 birth injuries that can lead to lifelong issues

Pregnant women generally go to the hospital to have their babies with the expectation that they and their babies will be safe during labor and delivery. They put their trust in the medical professionals who are taking care of them. But what happens if a care team is negligent?

Certain birth injuries aren’t necessarily preventable, but woman should be monitored for these so that their team can act swiftly to address these issues if they occur. Failing to act when the following occur, for example, can lead to traumatic injuries, some of which are fatal, for the mother or baby.

Placental abruption

Placental abruption is a serious complication that can occur suddenly, typically in the third trimester. It occurs when the placenta detaches from the inner wall of the uterus before birth. This can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and cause heavy bleeding in the mother.

Risk factors for placental abruption include high blood pressure, abdominal trauma, previous occurrences of abruption, smoking and drug use. The symptoms often involve abdominal pain, tender uterus and vaginal bleeding, but these can vary greatly. Prompt medical treatment is critical to manage the condition. It often involves early delivery of the baby, depending on the stage of pregnancy and the severity of the abruption.

Uterine rupture

Uterine rupture is a rare but life-threatening event where the muscular wall of the uterus tears during pregnancy or childbirth. It most commonly occurs in women who have had previous uterine surgery, such as a cesarean section or fibroid removal. However, it can also happen spontaneously in a uterus without previous scars.

Symptoms include sudden, sharp pain between contractions, a bulging under the pubic bone or the mother feeling that something has ripped. The fetus can also display signs of distress, such as abnormal heart rate patterns. Emergency surgical intervention is necessary to prevent severe blood loss and fetal distress. A cesarean delivery is usually required. Some women may need a hysterectomy.

Shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia occurs during delivery when one or both of the baby’s shoulders become lodged in the mother’s pelvic bones after the head has been delivered. This can lead to significant complications for the mother and baby if it’s not managed swiftly and effectively.

The risk factors for shoulder dystocia include a large baby, maternal diabetes, obesity and a history of shoulder dystocia in previous deliveries. The condition requires immediate resolution strategies by the medical team. Failure to manage shoulder dystocia promptly can result in birth injuries such as brachial plexus injury or even fetal hypoxia.

Medical professionals should know the risk factors for these conditions so they can implement appropriate monitoring measures. If they’re addressed promptly, the effects are usually mitigated. But, if they don’t respond appropriately, a medical malpractice claim for harm done might be in order.