Delayed births stand out as a significant contributor to birth injuries. When labor extends beyond 18 hours, it raises a red flag. This protracted period can have adverse effects on the newborn, particularly impacting the delicate balance within the infant’s brain.

The clock ticks: Risks amplify with prolonged labor

Extended labors intensify the pressure exerted on the infant’s developing brain. The longer the duration, the higher the likelihood of complications. This heightened pressure becomes a breeding ground for issues that may lead to fetal distress. This is a condition where the baby experiences oxygen deprivation that can elevate blood pressure levels. When this happens, there may be more severe complications, such as strokes and other cardiovascular challenges.

Recognizing signs and taking action

Recognizing the signs of delayed birth is a pivotal aspect of ensuring a safe childbirth process. Health care professionals are trained to monitor the progress of labor closely. They must pay keen attention to various indicators that may signal a delay. These signs include:

  • Prolonged contractions
  • Lack of progress in cervical dilation
  • Irregularities with the baby’s heart rate

Health care providers employ advanced monitoring technologies to track these vital signs continuously. Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) is a common tool to observe the baby’s heart rate and the frequency and duration of contractions. Any deviations from the norm can prompt immediate action.

When necessary, medical teams step in with strategic interventions to prevent or address complications associated with delayed births. These interventions may include administering medications to stimulate contractions. They may also perform a cesarean section if deemed safer for the mother and baby.

When delay in birth becomes malpractice

Identifying when a delay in birth becomes a case of malpractice involves evaluating the actions and choices of health care professionals based on established medical standards. Malpractice arises when the care given does not align with accepted practices, leading to harm or injury. In the context of delayed birth, certain situations deserve attention:

  • If doctors or nurses miss clear signs that something could go wrong during childbirth and do not do anything about it, that’s a problem.
  • If doctors do not inform soon-to-be parents enough about the possible issues with delayed birth and fail to ask for their permission before performing procedures.
  • If the medical team fails to act quickly when they should during long labor.
  • If a doctor does not perform a cesarean section when it is necessary for the safety of the mother and the child, and they take too much time.
  • If there is not enough care after childbirth, especially if there are issues from a delayed birth.

In essence, a delay in birth becomes a potential malpractice issue when health care professionals deviate from the standard of care, leading to harm or injury. Legal assessments in such cases often involve expert opinions to determine whether the actions or omissions of the medical team were reasonable and in line with established medical standards.