Every mother hopes for a quick, problem-free birth. Unfortunately, sometimes the labor process can be wrought with complications and difficulties. Prolonged labor or “failure to progress” is any labor that lasts more than 20 hours for a first-time mother or 14 hours in subsequent births. Without medical intervention, prolonged labor puts both mother and baby at risk of birth injuries.
Why is Prolonged Labor So Dangerous?
Many different problems can cause prolonged labor. The baby may be too large to fit through the mother’s birth canal or in the wrong position. Weak contractions and other issues can also lead to prolonged labor. Whatever the reason, prolonged labor can be very dangerous. Oxygen deprivation to the fetus is one of the biggest risks associated with prolonged labor. If the baby is stuck in the birth canal for too long, his or her oxygen levels will drop. If the oxygen is cut off long enough, the baby may suffer brain damage and permanent disability.
How Is Prolonged Labor Treated?
The best way to treat prolonged labor is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Regular prenatal care can help ensure that a mother-to-be is healthy and may even pick up on any potential issues that could lead to difficulties during delivery. If labor does last too long, the doctor will typically order tests to evaluate the baby’s wellbeing. To ensure the baby continues to get enough oxygen, doctors may use a vacuum extractor or forceps to help deliver the baby quickly. In some cases, a C-section may even be necessary to minimize the risk of birth injury. About one-third of all Cesarean sections are conducted because labor is not progressing normally. C-sections, vacuum extraction, and other methods carry risks, so doctors must weigh the risks and choose the course of action that has the lowest potential for injury.
Medical staff must take quick, decisive action when labor is not progressing. Any delay can lead to permanent harm to the infant or the mother. If a baby suffers brain damage from lack of oxygen or other injuries caused by substandard medical care during birth, the medical provider or the facility where the child was born may be liable for damages. Compensation may be available for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
If you or your baby were harmed due to prolonged labor, delayed C-section, misuse of forceps, or another form of medical negligence, an experienced Cook County birth injury lawyer can help. Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd. has helped countless families in the Chicago area recover compensation for their losses and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Call us at 312-462-4200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today.