It is the hope of every parent that their child experiences a safe and complication-free delivery as they enter the world. Unfortunately, some deliveries do encounter complications—how healthcare providers respond to complications is incredibly important in minimizing risk to both the baby and the birthing parent.
In the second stage of labor, if the descent of the baby’s head has stopped, there are imminent risks to the baby, or there are conditions that contraindicate pushing, the use of forceps, and vacuum-assisted deliveries are recommended as safe, acceptable alternatives to cesarean delivery. This is because existing maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity data show no clear advantage of the use of forceps and vacuum-assisted deliveries (known as operative vaginal delivery) over cesarean delivery. Nevertheless, said data fails to account for the impact of maternal trauma, which is the most common injury associated with operative vaginal delivery. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that this is particularly problematic in North America. Canada presently has the highest rate of maternal trauma after operative vaginal deliveries among high-income countries, followed closely by Denmark and the United States.
The study authors explain that the initiatives to decrease cesarean deliveries in North America that include scaling up training and use of operative vaginal deliveries are not acknowledging the serious safety concerns related to operative vaginal deliveries. The authors recommend that emphasis be placed on ensuring that birthing parents are adequately informed of the risk of forceps, vacuum, and second-stage cesarean delivery, instead of on reducing cesarean delivery rates. This would mean a shift in focus towards transparent, evidence-based, patient-centered care and safe, positive birth experiences. Indeed, “[t]he benefits and risks associated with all delivery alternatives need to be carefully communicated to pregnant women, ideally in the antenatal period, with current, empirically derived measures that reflect the risks women encounter in routine obstetric practice.” This kind of communication is key in allowing the birthing parent to make an informed decision as to their chosen method of delivery.
Stanford Medicine Children’s Health explains that the following conditions may be linked to a difficult birth:
Stanford Medicine Children’s Health identifies the following as common birth injuries affecting babies:
Although birth injuries to the birthing parent can be devastating, these injuries are at times inadequately discussed and/or improperly addressed, leaving those who have suffered such an injury feeling isolated. These injuries can include:
If you or a loved one suffered an injury during the birthing process that you believe to be the result of medical malpractice, you should reach out to an attorney right away. Contact the experienced attorneys at Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC if you have any questions about your legal rights regarding this concern. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call 203-324-7909 or contact us online today.