Ideally, a baby is born head-first. This ensures that the child can breathe as soon as his or her head clears the birth canal. A baby that is positioned incorrectly within the mother’s body during labor and delivery may suffer life-threatening birth injuries. Doctors may need to take corrective actions to reposition the baby or deliver the baby through Cesarean section (C-section.) If a doctor fails to handle a breech birth correctly, the baby may suffer serious or even fatal injuries.
Potential Remedies for a Baby in Breech Presentation
When a baby is in breech presentation, doctors have several choices. In some cases, the doctor may be able to manually reposition the baby so that the mother can continue with a vaginal delivery. External cephalic version (ECV) is a process during which a doctor pushes on the outside of the woman’s abdomen in order to manually reposition the baby. However, this procedure is not safe in situations involving multiples, rupture of the amniotic sac, abnormal fetal heart rate, low amniotic fluid levels, or vaginal bleeding.
In many cases, the best way to ensure that a breech baby is delivered safely is to deliver the baby via C-section. Although there are also risks associated with a C-section, the risks of vaginal delivery often outweigh the risks of a C-section when the baby is not positioned correctly. An obstetrician must consider all of the relevant factors and make the decision that reduces the chances of injury to the baby and the mother as much as possible.
Birth Injuries that Can Result from Breech Birth
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to babies in breech presentation is asphyxia. When a baby is deprived of oxygen, brain damage can occur within minutes. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition during which the brain does not receive enough oxygenated blood flow. A child who experiences HIE may suffer developmental delays, cognitive impairment, epilepsy, and organ damage.
Another concern when a child is born feet-first or buttocks-first is brachial plexus injuries. When a baby’s feet or midsection leave the birth canal before his or her head, the head may get lodged on the mother’s pelvic bones. This can cause the nerves in the baby’s neck and shoulder area to be stretched or torn. This can lead to a Erb’s palsy, a potentially lifelong medical condition that reduces the child’s ability to move his or her arms or hands. Spinal cord injuries, subdural hematoma, skull fracture, and intracranial hemorrhage may also result from breech births.
Contact a Chicago Breech Birth Lawyer
If a doctor fails to take the steps needed to address a breech presentation and the baby or mother is harmed as a result, the doctor may be liable in a birth injury lawsuit. To learn more, contact a Cook County birth injury attorney at Birth Injury Law Alliance, LLC. Call us at 312-945-1300 for a free consultation.