How to get help if your baby was injured during delivery
The labor and delivery process is the final step toward finally bringing your baby into the world. While parents can try to do everything right during their pregnancy, there are times when unpreventable complications can arise that put mothers’ and babies’ lives at risk. Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) is one of those conditions that you expect your medical team to watch out for since you have no way to know it’s happening.
CPD occurs when there is a mismatch between the size of a baby’s head and the size of their mother’s pelvis. If the baby’s head is too large to fit through their mother’s pelvis, labor can stall.
What causes cephalopelvic disproportion?
The causes of CPD can originate from the mother or the baby. In some cases, both have conditions that heighten the risk of developing CPD. Some mothers simply have a small pelvis. They could have a naturally small frame or a health condition that narrows the pelvic opening.
Mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to have a baby with an abnormally high body weight. This can cause the baby’s head to be too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. Mothers who have previously had a baby or who carry their pregnancy beyond 41 weeks are also at a higher risk of having CPD occur.
These are only some of the factors that can contribute to CPD. Your doctor should monitor you throughout your pregnancy and labor for signs that CPD might be an issue during your baby’s delivery.
How is CPD diagnosed?
Understanding what causes CPD helps you know what signs doctors look for before and during your labor. Routine ultrasounds throughout your pregnancy are used to help your doctor gain insight into your baby’s size. Ultrasounds are often done more frequently if you have a condition such as gestational diabetes, which puts you at risk of having a large baby.
During labor, your doctor should carefully monitor you and your baby for signs that labor is proceeding as expected. For instance, the baby should make its way through the birth canal at an appropriate rate for the contractions. Your doctor should also check that your cervix is dilating and monitor your baby’s heart rate.
What complications are associated with CPD?
When CPD isn’t properly addressed, the risk for a birth injury increases dramatically. Babies can be deprived of oxygen, which puts them at risk for developmental delays and cerebral palsy. Sometimes, doctors attempt to pull the baby through the canal with forceps, increasing the risk of a brain bleed or other type of cerebral injury.
Shoulder dystocia is another common birth injury related to CPD. When your baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal, it can lead to nerve damage, a fracture or even paralysis. If mishandled, birth injuries that result from CPD can have lifelong consequences for your baby’s health and development.
How should medical professionals treat CPD?
Medical professionals are expected to identify and diagnose CPD early on in labor. In most cases, an emergency cesarean section (C-section) may be required, and failing to do so could be a sign that malpractice occurred.
Occasionally, a doctor may be unsure if a mother is experiencing true CPD and decide to use birthing tools, such as forceps, instead of opting for a C-section. The improper use of these tools can contribute to birth injuries. Allowing labor to continue too long without taking the appropriate action to relieve stress on the baby and mother is an all-too-common mistake made by medical professionals.
What can you do if a birth injury occurs?
Parents place great trust in their medical professionals to make the right decisions when complications arise. While in labor, you may not be fully aware of the issues with your baby’s birthing position, and it’s critical that you’re provided with the best standards of care.
If a birth injury occurs, you have the right to work with an attorney to file a lawsuit. You may be entitled to compensation to cover the cost of your baby’s medical care and treatment for long-term injuries.
Facing a birth injury after an intense and prolonged labor and delivery is never easy. It’s important for you to know and understand your rights.
If your baby suffered an injury during delivery and you suspect your doctor may be at fault, contact Laura Brown at Brown Trial Firm today. Her years of experience with birth injury cases will help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve for you and your child.
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- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Cerebral Palsy
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