Pregnant women often fear the worst when their labor starts. There are countless horror stories of births gone wrong and people left without necessary medical support during a very vulnerable time. Women and their partners put incredible amounts of trust in the healthcare professionals that provide obstetric services.
Both prenatal care and professional support during labor and delivery can increase someone’s chances of an optimal outcome. However, during a small number of birthing events each year, the actions of healthcare professionals directly contribute to a poor outcome for the mother and/or child. These are some of the relatively common ways in which medical professionals sometimes cause birth injuries instead of preventing them.
1. They take unnecessary action
Labor is a natural process that most women’s bodies can manage without medical support. Given enough time and encouragement, they will usually eventually give birth to a healthy child. There are certainly cases in which intervention is necessary, but some healthcare professionals decide to try to speed up or finish labor due to considerations other than the best interest of the mother and her unborn child.
They might also recommend interventions that are inappropriate or even dangerous, like the off-label administration of drugs with warnings against using them during pregnancy. When doctors perform unnecessary interventions, make mistakes while intervening or make the wrong recommendation, the patient could suffer catastrophic consequences.
2. They don’t take action when they should
Hospitals typically monitor the heart rate of the mother and her unborn child during the labor process so that they can intervene quickly if the infant displays signs of distress. Improper monitoring or failing to take action despite noticeable signs of distress, like dark meconium in the waters after rupturing the amniotic sac, might lead to tragic and ultimately preventable birth injuries.
Those who provide support for pregnant women should do their best to monitor the progress of labor and recognize when interventions are necessary for the safety of the mother or child. They should also adhere to best practices for the profession, including using the recommended procedures and medications to facilitate a safe birth.
Recognizing when healthcare providers may have contributed to or caused birth injuries can help new parents take appropriate legal action with the assistance of a legal professional after a medical tragedy.