Birth Injury During Labor and Delivery

Nationwide Cerebral Palsy Resource Network

Sometimes, in spite of all the preparation, something goes wrong during the delivery of a baby. When a birth injury occurs, it’s always a shock for parents who must then find a way to cope with the challenges resulting from what may have been a preventable birth injury.

It’s natural to want answers at this time. Parents are entitled to know all the circumstances that led to their child’s birth injury, and whether the injury was preventable. If the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional caused your child's injuries, you might be entitled to compensation to improve your child's quality of life. Please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800)462-5772 for a free evaluation of your case. 

Why Does Birth Injury During Labor Occur?

Labor and delivery proceed without incident for many mothers, but if there are complications, it’s incumbent upon the doctor and other medical professionals to diagnose them early, respond appropriately, and to treat them effectively. Deviating from the standard of care may be the basis for a birth injury claim.

What Are Some Things We Look For In Medical Records To Prove That Cerebral Palsy Was Preventable? from The CP Lawyer | Stern Law, PLLC on Vimeo.

There are many things to consider about the events that occurred during labor and delivery. The following circumstances are known to contribute to birth injuries:

  • Did placenta previa occur? This is a condition in which the placenta developed too low in the uterus, causing excessive bleeding and partial or complete blockage of the cervix, which can lead to fetal distress or asphyxia.
  • Did placental abruption cause heavy bleeding during the delivery of a baby leading to fetal distress? Placental abruption involves partial or complete separation of the placenta from the uterine wall that interrupts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a baby. Upon the first signs of resulting fetal distress, steps may be taken for a rapid delivery or cesarean section (or c-section).
  • Was your baby deprived of oxygen? At any time during labor and delivery, did medical conditions cause your baby to be deprived of oxygen or nutrients?
  • Did you experience prolonged labor? Did the doctors fail to react promptly to deliver your baby?
  • Did more than a full day pass between your water breaking and the delivery of your baby? There is an increased risk of infection after 24 hours post rupture of membranes.
  • Did your baby become wedged in the birth canal for a prolonged period of time? Prolonged labor can lead to fetal distress, asphyxia and oxygen deprivation, and an abnormal heart rate, all of which can all lead to permanent impairments and disabilities.
  • Did the medical team take note of any meconium? Meconium is a fecal waste product. If it appeared in your amniotic fluid after your water broke, this is indicative of fetal distress, a very serious condition. Fetal distress can lead to meconium being dispelled from the baby’s intestines prior to birth, and into the amniotic sac. If this is then inhaled by the baby when it takes its first breath during the delivery process, it can lead to respiratory distress and long-term respiratory and other problems.
  • Were other necessary medical tests ordered during labor? Prompt diagnosis is critical to eliminating or minimizing the long-term impact on the baby.
  • Was there a failure on the part of the doctors or other medical professionals to correctly analyze any medical tests during your labor? It’s critical for the doctors and nurses to pay close attention to all of the information relating to the mother’s delivery in order to react quickly when problems arise. Distraction and loss of focus on the part of your medical providers can have tragic consequences.
  • Was your baby’s heart rate properly monitored? Was there any indication of fetal distress on the heart rate monitor? Did the doctors or other medical professionals fail to diagnose any changes in the baby’s heart rate during labor and delivery? Did you have hypertension or preeclampsia during labor that was not treated promptly or appropriately? High blood pressure could have led to oxygen deprivation for your baby and may have led to placental separation.
  • Did a doctor deliver your baby with the use of a vacuum extractor or forceps? Although these devices are effective delivery aids, they also can lead to traumatic harm to your baby if not used properly, including cephalohematoma and intracranial hemorrhage.
  • Were there any umbilical cord complications, such as the cord being wrapped around the neck or compressed against the body of your baby? This can constrict the flow of oxygen-rich blood through the umbilical cord. This type of emergency can lead to asphyxia and may have presented as fetal distress on the fetal monitoring equipment. A failure of the doctors and medical professionals to detect this condition may lead to a birth injury with long-term impairment or disability.
  • Was your baby’s head too large to fit through the birth canal? If so, was an emergency cesarean section performed in a prompt manner to avoid birth injuries?
  • Did your baby suffer from a condition known as shoulder dystocia? This condition occurs when your baby’s shoulders are too large for the birth canal and then become wedged against the pubic bone. This condition should be diagnosed quickly after the presentation of the fetal head with no further progression. Shoulder dystocia could lead to physical trauma to your child, as well as asphyxia, brain damage, and other serious birth injuries.
  • Was an emergency cesarean section performed? If doctors and other medical professionals knew or should have known that your baby was in fetal distress, did they delay in ordering and performing a section can lead to permanent impairment or disability?

The journey through pregnancy, for most mothers, is a wonderful experience. By the time the mother enters the delivery room, the dreams she has for her new baby are in sharp focus.

When something goes wrong in the delivery room, it can change a family’s life forever. If an injury was the result of negligence on the part of the medical professionals, then it may be considered medical malpractice. For that reason, it’s necessary to fight for the future of your child and to hold the people who caused harm fully responsible.

Pursuing compensation is an opportunity to provide you the funds necessary to provide the best life possible for your child. To learn about the damages you and your family might be entitled to, please call (800)462-5772 today for a free consultation with an experienced birth injury attorney. Stern Law, PLLC has helped families in need for over 30 years.