What birth injuries are caused by delayed delivery?

Many mothers experience overdue pregnancies and long deliveries. The reasons for these experiences are often hard to determine, but they are not always cause for alarm.

Overdue pregnancies can become safe and successful births when properly identified and treated by a doctor. When doctors overlook complications and fail to act, it can lead to birth injuries caused by delayed delivery.

Delayed delivery

Delayed delivery is when necessary surgical delivery is not performed promptly enough. A baby that has been in the birth canal for more than 18 hours is in medical distress. The longer the baby is in the birth canal, the greater the risk of birth injury or death.

Common birth injuries caused by delayed delivery

The extreme pressure in the birth canal puts stress on the baby’s organs. This can lead to a lack of oxygen and conditions resulting from injuries to the brain, such as cerebral palsy. There is also an increased risk of spina bifida, hematoma and umbilical cord prolapse.

Birth injuries and malpractice

Malpractice is an act of negligence during labor and delivery that causes a birth injury. Examples of this include:

  • Failure to monitor the mother and baby’s heart rate during labor to detect distress.
  • Failure to recognize the need to perform a Cesarean section
  • Delaying a Cesarean section
  • Failure to provide oxygen to the newborn after birth

Medical staff should know how to recognize signs of distress in the baby and mother.

Bruising or abrasions are visible signs of injury, but brain injuries are often not immediately apparent. Signs and symptoms of birth injury include limp limbs, excessive vomiting, inability to suckle and seizures within 48 hours of birth.

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