Induced labor occurs in many deliveries all across the world.
Sometimes induced labor is beneficial for the mother and the baby. However, even if it’s beneficial, inducing labor comes with many risks to the mother and baby.
If you’ve had an induced labor and have experienced injuries during or post-birth, or if your baby has experienced injuries, then consider speaking with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss taking legal action.
Let’s review why doctors induce labor, the risks associated with inducing labor, and how to receive a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
Why Do Doctors Induce Labor?
Inducing labor is one of the most frequently performed medical procedures done by obstetricians in the world.
During induced labor, your doctor either provided you with medication or engaged in labor techniques to help along with labor.
One of the most common medications given to induce labor is the oxytocin hormone. The oxytocin hormone is essential in the beginning stages of labor. It helps to start contractions, dilate the cervix and prepare the body to give birth.
Pitocin, a synthetic version of oxytocin, is one of the most common labor-inducing medications that doctors use.
Other common labor techniques that an obstetrician will provide to help along with labor include:
- An amniotomy — a procedure in which the doctor purposefully ruptures the mother’s amniotic sac to release the amniotic fluid. There are specific protocols and procedures the obstetrician must follow while providing an amniotomy and any mistakes could cause potential damage.
- Stripping the membranes — also known as a membrane sweep is when the doctor separates the thin membrane that connects to the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus. This swiping method helps separate the sac and stimulates specific hormones needed to begin labor.
- Ripen the cervix — the doctor may give an oral or IV medication of Prostaglandin to soften and thin out the cervix so that it may dilate for labor.
There are some common reasons why doctors, and expecting mothers, may want to induce labor, such as:
- Not having contractions after the water has broken
- Certain risk associated factors for the mother, such as gestational diabetes
- Problems with the mother’s placenta
- Infections in the uterus
In some cases, mothers may want to induce labor so they can have their child born at a certain place, or time.
While inducing labor can be beneficial in some circumstances for the mother and baby, there are also many risks that may harm you and your baby that you should be aware of.
Risks from Inducing Labor
Inducing labor can come with its own set of complications. These complications can lead to injuring you and your baby.
There are four common risks.
- If inducing labor doesn’t work, a mother may end up having an emergency c-section. Although most emergency c-sections are performed with no problems, there is the possibility of infections, hemorrhages and organ injuries.
- If a doctor breaks the amniotic sac while performing an amniotomy, the mother and baby may be exposed to infections if labor doesn’t begin fairly soon after.
- If a mother is given prostaglandin or oxytocin, then the mother is at risk for having abnormal contractions and other future side effects. The associated risks when giving either medication can be having low blood pressure, low blood sodium and the possibility of tearing the uterus.
- Another potential risk is the mother giving birth between 34-37 weeks, or having a premature baby. Inducing birth too early risks the chance of premature birth, stopping your baby from forming and growing properly.
There are both short-term and long-term injuries for your baby if they are born too soon. Short-term injuries can include troubles with feeding or breathing problems. Long-term injuries can include developmental delays and disabilities.
Many other birth injuries can come from inducing labor. Some birth injuries are unpreventable, however, some are due to medical negligence or medical malpractice.
Medical negligence is when your medical provider fails to provide you with the medical standard level of care.
If you believe you or your baby has an injury from induced labor, speak with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your story and find out if legal action is the right step for you.
What Would Legal Action Look Like?
The first step to taking legal action is to meet with a medical malpractice attorney. You’ll discuss the injury and what filing a lawsuit against the medical provider or hospital would entail.
To get the most out of your meeting, prepare ahead of time. Make sure to gather important documents and receipts pertaining to your injury. If you have any proof of lost wages or other types of suffering as a result of your injury, bring those as well.
It’s also a good idea to meet with someone sooner rather than later, as you have a time frame on when you can submit your medical malpractice lawsuit. This time limit is also known as the Statute of Limitations. There are, however, exceptions to this rule and your medical malpractice attorney can review what it means for your case.
If you’re considering legal action, choose someone to represent you that you trust will fight for you every step of the way.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Grover Lewis Johnson have been doing exactly that for their clients for over 25 years.
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If you or your baby had a birth injury due to having induced labor, reach out to us today.
We look forward to helping you and your family.