Can delayed C-sections cause severe birth injuries?
March 27, 2020
Cesarean delivery (C-section) is a medical term used to describe the delivery of a baby by cutting through the abdomen and uterus. Doctors perform C-sections in circumstances where the baby or mother may be at risk of an injury or adverse health conditions that would result from allowing a vaginal birth.
Here are some reasons why a C-section may be performed:
- Stalled labor due to the cervix not opening or the baby not descending
- Abnormalities in a baby’s heart rate
- Baby is in an abnormal position, such as feet first or buttocks first (also called a breech birth)
- The mother is birthing twins or triplets
- The cervix is blocked by the placenta
- An umbilical cord loop slips through the cervix before the baby (also called cord prolapse)
- The mother has a severe health condition or infection
- Obstructions in the birth canal
- The mother had a previous C-section
When are C-sections urgent?
C-sections are often scheduled before the birthing process, but C-sections may need to be performed promptly in order to prevent a severe or life-threatening injury to the baby or mother. C-sections are urgent when:
- Baby’s Condition. Concerns about the baby’s condition, such as lack of oxygen or abnormal heart rate changes.
- A cord prolapse occurs. When the umbilical cord slips through the cervix before the baby is born, blood flow to the baby can be reduced or cut off.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion occurs. The baby’s head is too large to pass through the birth canal. If a C-section isn’t promptly performed, the baby can be at risk of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (oxygen deprivation to the brain) that can result in cerebral palsy.
- When a breech birth occurs. The baby’s head can become stuck in the cervix, or the umbilical cord can tighten around the neck resulting in asphyxia (loss of oxygen). Asphyxia can cause permanent brain damage including cerebral palsy — a life-long condition that affects muscle tone, cognitive functioning, and motor skills.
- Cervix is blocked by the placenta. A baby can lose oxygen when a low-lying placenta partially or completely covers the cervix.
What to do if a C-section was delayed
Doctors should never delay or avoid a C-section when a baby’s or mother’s health is in jeopardy. If your baby sustained a serious and life-long birth injury because your doctor failed to perform a timely C-section, you may be able to take legal action.
Your child may require life-long treatment as a result of medical negligence. This can be financially and emotionally draining for parents.
The birth injury attorneys at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices are dedicated to holding negligent doctors and medical facilities accountable. We’ll fight to maximize the recovery for you and your child.
Schedule a time to meet with one of our attorneys in our Chicago or Milwaukee offices or to speak by phone. Fill out our contact form online to schedule your free consultation.
About The Author
Attorney Jeffrey M. Goldberg has spent his entire professional career handling cases involving birth injury, medical malpractice, product liability and related accidents.