Birth Injuries – Common Labor and Delivery Complications

Some delivery complications have been around as long as childbirth itself and there are various methods of treatment and management for each of them. It is vitally important for the physician and hospital staff to handle the labor and delivery adequately. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death to the mother, as well as the newborn.

Premature Delivery

The average time of pregnancy is 40 weeks. During this time, the fetus is forming and developing the necessary components to survive outside of the womb. According to the website,, preterm labor occurs when contractions start prior to the 37th week of pregnancy. If the delivery is allowed to continue, the baby will be born prematurely. This can lead to a variety of complications, including immature lung development and digestive issues. Premature delivery can also result in the death of the infant.

While premature labor and delivery often happens unexpectedly and without known cause, experts identify certain risk factors:

Elevated blood pressure during the pregnancy
Infection Multiple fetuses
Smoking or drug use during pregnancy
Mother has history of preterm labors

Prolonged Labor

Sometimes labor lasts too long, which creates a dangerous environment for the baby. When a woman experiences contractions for more than 20 hours without delivering, it is called “failure to progress.” According to WebMD, the condition can result in reduced oxygen levels to the baby. The amniotic sac may also rupture, allowing abnormal substances to reach the baby and cause sickness. When these complications occur, the necessity for a C-Section increases.

Risks for prolonged labor include:
Babies that are too big for vaginal delivery
Weak contractions Baby is in an abnormal position
First time deliveries

Abnormal Presentations

Doctors use the phrase “presentation” in reference to the body part that first leaves the birth canal. According to WebMD, prior to delivery, the baby drops down into the birth canal in preparation for the impending birth. In the most ideal situation, the baby is head down and turned towards the direction of the mother’s back. This positioning is preferred because the head is the heaviest part of the the baby’s anatomy. Once the head clears the birth canal, it is significantly easier for the rest of the body to follow. When the baby is not positioned in this way, the following presentations are also possible:

Breech Position – This presentation occurs when the baby’s feet or buttocks are positioned to enter the birth canal first, before the head.

Transverse Positioning – This presentation occurs when the baby’s body is horizontal, with a shoulder entering the canal first.

Either of these presentations can cause the baby to become stuck and possibly injured inside of the birth canal.

If you or your child was injured during treatment for a common labor and delivery complication, contact the birth injury attorneys for tailored guidance.

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