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3 potentially catastrophic complications of labor and delivery

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Going to the hospital to have a baby should be a joyful experience. And as such, most women understandably don’t think they’ll have something go wrong during the process that can lead to trauma for them or their baby.

While most women receive proper care during their labor and delivery, there are certain circumstances that can quickly turn dangerous if a woman or her fetus isn’t being monitored properly.

Shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia happens when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone as the baby moves down the birth canal. If this condition isn’t promptly handled, serious complications for both the mother and baby can occur. For example, the baby may suffer fractures or nerve damage.

Specific techniques are used to try to free the shoulder. Even if the baby is delivered quickly, there’s still considerable stress on the mother and baby. If this condition isn’t managed properly, the baby can suffer from long-term disabilities.

Uterine rupture

A uterine rupture occurs when the wall of the uterus tears during the pregnancy or labor. This is a potentially life-threatening complication because of the risk of hemorrhaging. Both the mother and baby are at risk when this occurs.

Uterine rupture is more common in women who have had surgery on their uterus, including a previous cesarean section delivery. The tear is more likely to occur near the scar tissue from the surgery.

Rapid medical intervention is essential to manage the situation. It often requires an emergency cesarean delivery. The risk of uterine rupture underscores the importance of closely monitoring labor, especially in women with a history of uterine surgery.

Erb’s palsy

Erb’s palsy occurs when there’s excessive pulling on the baby’s head or neck during the delivery, which is common in abnormal birth presentations or shoulder dystocia. This injury affects the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves that control movement in the hand, arm and shoulder. Erb’s palsy can cause weakness or paralysis in the affected limb.

The severity of Erb’s palsy can vary greatly. Some infants recover fully over time and others experiencing long-term disability. Treatment may include physical therapy and surgery to improve function.

When a birth injury is the result of negligence, parents may opt to pursue a legal claim. This can help them to recover the financial damages they’re dealing with because of the traumatic experience at issue.