Labor induction presents risks for California birth injuries

Many women are anxious to have their child when they reach their third term of pregnancy. By this time, women have carried their babies for at least 30 weeks and are dreaming of life with their babies in their arms. A woman will carry her child for at least 39 to 40 weeks during a typical pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic, giving the baby plenty of time to fully develop. However, there are some situations that require California medical professionals to deliver the baby early. Early labor induction can increase the risk of certain serious injuries in newborn infants. Physicians should carefully consider each case before making the decision of whether or not to induce.

What is labor induction?

Women normally start the labor process once their baby is developmentally ready to survive in the outside world. When there is an emergency situation or a woman does not begin the labor process as expected, the doctor may decide to start the pregnancy artificially, through use of medications or other methods, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

A physician may need to induce labor if the woman has a dangerous infection, a shortage of amniotic fluid in the uterus, issues concerning the placenta or a medical condition that places the baby at risk, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some doctors will perform an elective induction of labor, although there is not a medical necessity for starting the labor process. Often times, an elective induction is scheduled in order to accommodate certain plans or for another non-emergency reason. Elective induction should not be performed earlier than 39 weeks of gestation to minimize any preventable risks to the baby.

Risks of induction

Inducing a pregnancy comes with certain risks. The doctor must decide which option would be most beneficial for the mother and the baby. The Mayo Clinic lists the following risks of induction:

  • Problems with the umbilical cord, including umbilical cord prolapse, where the cord slips into the vaginal canal before the baby. This may ultimately cut off the baby's oxygen supply.
  • Premature birth from being induced too early may result in a baby having poorly developed organs, which could lead to brain injuries or fetal distress. Since the lungs are the last organ to fully develop during gestation, a premature baby may have trouble breathing as well.
  • Low heart rate caused by oxytocin, the medication used to start labor. If the medication causes abnormal contractions, the baby's breathing and heart rate may be affected.

Labor induction can increase the amount of bleeding that occurs after delivery, as well as the risk of infection for both the mother and baby.

How an attorney can help

A preventable mistake that occurs during the delivery process can affect a child's life forever. A family may have to support their baby through a tragic medical condition because of a doctor's poor decision to induce labor. Whether you have lost a child during the delivery process or your child has sustained critical injuries because of medical negligence, it is important to partner with an attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.