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New Test May Allow For Earlier Detection of Difficult Childbirths

Daily Rx reported this week on a new imaging test that may allow mothers to avoid difficult childbirths that often result in birth injuries. It is often helpful to think of two kinds of birth injuries, those caused by improper fetal development early in the pregnancy and those caused by problems at the moment of birth. Many of the problems that occur early on are difficult to prevent, as knowledge is still limited in the area. However, injuries caused by complications during delivery often hinge on the actions (or lack of actions) of the medical team deciding how the birth proceeds. That is why, more often than not, birth injury lawsuits are filed in connection to these delivery problems.

Fortunately, a new test may now be available which will help medical professionals prevent trouble during childbirth. The test is claimed to be able to predict ahead of time whether or not a birth will be smooth or difficult-allowing medical providers to plan ahead and potentially avoid complications. A team of French medical researchers tested the system which uses three dimensional images to simulate birth details. For example, they can analyze whether a child’s head has not turned properly which indicates that there may be trouble when it travels down the birth canal. Analyzing the child’s position in this way, before the birth, allowed the research doctors to correctly identify problematic births before they actually occurred.

By identifying the trouble earlier, doctors are able to know what to do to correct the problem. One of the main issues that our Illinois birth injury lawyers see time and again are doctors who fail to act properly when under the time pressure of discovering a birth problem in the middle of delivery. This test, if effective, can help doctors avoid that time pressure and plan ahead for extra steps that will need to be taken-or to schedule a C-section.

It is too early to tell how universally effective this new technique will prove to be. The researchers in this first study looked at images of 24 pregnant women using a new MRI computer program which tracks a baby’s womb growth. The team then generated three dimensional pictures of the mother’s pelvis while identifying the available routes of the child through the birth canal. That analysis allowed them to “score” each mother on a scale that predicted whether or not there would be complications during the delivery. In virtually all cases those mothers estimated to have a “highly favorable” birth without complications delivered normally. Conversely those who had been flagged for concerns actually required special intervention, C-section, or vacuum extraction.

Our birth injury attorneys believe that this system may significantly reduce the prevalence of unexpected birthing problems. Currently, doctors can usually only gauge likely birth complications ahead of time by measuring the size of a pelvis-a consistently unreliable indicator of potential delivery problems. This unreliability has significant consequences. For example, an unplanned C-section birth comes with a six to seven times increased risk of injury or death (for the mother or child) compared to planned C-sections.

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