Prolonged Labor Complications Related to Birth Trauma
Has a prolonged labor complication during pregnancy led to your child having a birth injury? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC represent injured victims in lawsuits involving medical negligence, birth injury, birth complications, and wrongful death of the mother or newborn.
Have you or a loved one experienced complications from prolonged labor? Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is available to answer any questions you have regarding the monetary compensation you deserve should you lose a relative due to severe birth injuries.
Call our medical malpractice legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Prolonged Labor?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, medical professionals define prolonged labor as lasting for 20 hours or more for first-time mothers and 14 hours for women with previous pregnancies.
Prolonged labor is linked to birth injuries. These injuries are often caused by the medical team making the wrong decisions or negligence.
In cases involving labor complications, medical professionals may choose to administer pain meds to alleviate discomfort from regular contractions during active labor or vaginal delivery. Pain-relieving drugs can weaken or slow contractions, contributing to a failure to progress during labor.
In other instances, forceps or a vacuum-assisted delivery may be performed, or even an emergency cesarean section to minimize the risk of birth injury to both mother and newborn.
Prolonged Labor Causes
Pregnancy complications can cause prolonged labor. In some cases, the baby’s head is in the birth canal for a considerable time, or the fetus is in an abnormal position.
In other cases, labor complications arise from a failure to progress when nulliparous women are in labor for more than 20 hours.
Usually, mothers with subsequent pregnancies are in labor anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. Some mothers show signs of a failure to progress, causing the birthing process to take longer than expected, which can be a driving force for complications of prolonged labor.
Common causes of prolonged labor include:
- Cephalopelvic disproportion– A large baby, or a baby with a large head relative to the mother's pelvis or birth canal
- Induction of labor
- Epidural anesthesia
- A small birth canal or pelvis
- Placental abruption occurs when the placenta prematurely detaches from the uterus wall
- Ineffective or inadequate contractions
- Delivering multiple babies
- Compression of the umbilical cord
- Fetal malposition – the fetus in the birth canal is in an abnormal position
- Fetal distress
- Slow effacement
Administering pain medications to the mother can also weaken or slow uterine contractions. If the doctor determines that the labor is not progressing, they usually advise the expecting mother to wait and relax.
The American Pregnancy Association has advised expecting mothers to get sufficient sleep, take walks, or enjoy a warm bath to encourage movement in the birthing process.
Sometimes, the medical provider may administer labor-inducing drugs or recommend the expecting mother undergo a cesarean delivery to avoid further labor complications.
During the latent phase (first stage) of labor, prolonged labor does not typically lead to complications during delivery. However, prolonged labor during labor’s active phase requires immediate medical intervention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that common underlying causes of prolonged labor include:
- Inefficient contractions,
- Abnormal fetal position
- Small pelvis soft tissue abnormalities in the mother’s uterus
Vaginal delivery with inadequate space in the birth canal could cause prolonged labor, leading to more birthing complications.
The Three Stages of Labor
There are three stages of labor, including contractions, childbirth, and placenta delivery. During the first stage of labor, mothers experience frequent and increasingly intense contractions.
Once the cervix is completely dilated, the second stage of delivery begins, and the mother can start to push the child through the birth canal for vaginal delivery.
Childbirth occurs during the second stage of labor. A mother will either give a vaginal delivery, operative vaginal delivery (the medical team will use forceps or vacuum devices to extract the child), or cesarean delivery.
A delivery assisted with vacuum suction is a medical practice usually used in emergency cases. The doctor will properly position the baby’s head and shoulders for delivery.
Labor and Chronic Health Conditions
A cesarean section is usually necessary for women with chronic health conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure. During the procedure, the doctor will make an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus to extract the baby.
Cesarean delivery is a viable option for childbirth, In many cases, medical professionals will perform the procedure to protect the health of the mother and child.
A cesarean section can sometimes cause:
The last stage of labor is the placenta delivery. The placenta delivery is the 5 to 15 minutes of continuous uterine contractions that push out the placenta (or afterbirth) once the child is born.
Complications of Prolonged Labour
More often than not, most injuries sustained by women giving birth are minor and self-resolving. However, complications due to prolonged labor involve:
- Improper use of medical equipment resulting in serious injury to the mother or newborn
- Failure to properly identify fetal distress
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Failure to progress normal labor causes fetal distress
- Unceasing uterine contractions leading to uterine rupture or hemorrhages
- Placental abruption
- The occurrence of a postpartum hemorrhage leading to excessive blood loss
- Inadequate oxygen resulting in fetal distress or perinatal asphyxia(an insufficient oxygen intake by the baby during the delivery process)
- Fetal distress leads to an irregular heartbeat or muscle tone and movement complications in the newborn
- The slow progress of uterine contractions
These can contribute to a birth injury that can ultimately impact the quality of the child’s life or cause permanent injury to the mother.
Risk Factors of Prolonged Labor
Medical professionals should be fully aware of the risk factors involved in the complications of prolonged labor, which could include:
- The child’s head is in the birth canal for too long during vaginal birth
- The requirement of an emergency cesarean section due to the mother having a small birth canal
- Cephalopelvic disproportion–the baby’s head is too large relative to the mother’s pelvis and the birth canal during vaginal delivery
Medical Malpractice During Delivery
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical care team fails to use reasonable care when providing patient care. Malpractice can occur through improper extraction devices like forceps and vacuums during operative vaginal delivery.
The improper use of medical tools is one of the primary causes of severe birth injuries. Still, a medical staff’s failure to make a proper medical assessment after the active phase of labor to prevent long-term complications can also be considered a form of medical malpractice.
How Medical Malpractice Affects Your Newborn
During the active phase of your child’s delivery, medical malpractice can cause injuries to the brachial plexus (nerve endings that send signals to the spinal cord, hands, and feet), facial paralysis, cerebral palsy, and brain damage.
Most injuries that result in long-term ailments like brain injury can be prevented with proper monitoring and medical analysis. When professionals abide by medical standards and act with reasonable care, there is no reason your newborn should sustain injuries that cause them to suffer for the rest of their lives.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Did your child sustain a birth injury due to your doctor's medical negligence or that medical malpractice at the hands of medical staff led to your prolonged labor challenges? Our lawyers can ensure that you receive the financial compensation your family deserves for your suffering.
You can contact our lawyers today to schedule an obligation-free case consultation to discuss the merits of your financial recovery claim. All confidential or sensitive information disclosed with our law office remains private in an attorney-client relationship.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Your Birth Injury Lawsuit
The birth injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are part of a team skilled in representing the victims and families of those affected or injured at the hands of a medical professional or institution due to medical malpractice or negligence.
Our legal team will thoroughly investigate cases involving medical malpractice resulting in a newborn's birth defect or injury. The goal of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is to bring justice to those impacted by medical malfeasance.
Although our offices are located throughout the greater Chicago area, we serve clients throughout the state of Illinois and across the United States.
Many medical malpractice cases have already been resolved in million-dollar settlements to provide sufficient financial compensation for any treatments required to be provided for the mother and child.
Contact our medical negligence attorneys today toll-free at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to explore your legal options.