Childbirth is an experience that many families look forward to with anticipation and excitement. However, it can also be a time of uncertainty and worry, since there are a variety of complications that can occur during labor and delivery that could potentially result in birth injuries. Some of the most serious complications that can occur during childbirth are related to a child’s ability to receive sufficient oxygen. If a child’s oxygen supply is cut off, they may experience brain injuries that could lead to conditions such as cerebral palsy. A lack of oxygen can also put a child’s life at risk. In situations where a child suffered harm because of oxygen deprivation, parents may need to determine whether birth injuries occurred because of medical malpractice.
Causes of Oxygen Deprivation During Labor and Delivery
There are several reasons why a child may not receive sufficient oxygen during childbirth, including:
Placental abruption – In some cases, the placenta may separate from the wall of the uterus during labor and delivery. This will result in a lack of oxygen being passed from the mother’s blood to the child’s blood. Signs of placental abruption should be addressed immediately, and in some cases, an emergency Cesarean section may need to be performed to deliver the child and provide the necessary oxygen.
Umbilical cord issues – Oxygen needs to be able to travel through the umbilical cord and into the baby’s body. If the umbilical cord becomes pinched or knotted, this can inhibit the flow of oxygen. In some cases, the umbilical cord may become wrapped around the child’s neck, while in others, a prolapsed umbilical cord may occur, causing it to become compressed by the baby’s head or body. If there are any signs that the child is not receiving sufficient oxygen through the umbilical cord, a Cesarean delivery may be necessary.
Induced labor – Drugs such as Pitocin may be used to begin or speed up the process of labor. However, these drugs can cause very strong contractions, which can increase a child’s blood pressure and limit their ability to receive enough oxygen. Mothers should be closely monitored when labor induction drugs are used, and any signs of fetal distress should be addressed immediately.
Prolonged labor – Fetal distress is also likely if labor lasts for an extended time. Regular contractions and other issues can put stress on a child’s body, inhibiting the flow of oxygen. Extended labor will also increase the chances of other complications, such as placental abruption. When labor stalls or does not progress quickly enough, medical personnel will need to determine what interventions may be appropriate to ensure that the child can be delivered safely.
Meconium aspiration – A child may pass stool known as meconium while inside the womb, and they may then inhale it along with amniotic fluid. Meconium is very thick, with a tar-like consistency, and it can coat the interior of the child’s lungs, limiting their ability to process oxygen. Medical personnel should be sure to recognize the signs of meconium aspiration and provide the necessary treatments to ensure that the child will receive sufficient oxygen after delivery.
Infections – Infectious diseases may be transferred from the mother to the child, or a child may contract infections due to unsanitary conditions in a delivery room. Some infections can increase a child’s blood pressure and limit blood flow, which may result in a lack of oxygen to the brain or other parts of the body.
Contact Our DuPage County Birth Injury Lawyers
When a child does not receive enough oxygen during childbirth, they may experience a wide range of injuries and health issues, including developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy or other permanent disabilities. In some cases, these injuries may occur because of negligence by doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel. At [[title]], we work with families to determine who was responsible for birth injuries and ensure that they can receive the compensation that will allow them to provide for the needs of their children. To set up a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist with these issues, contact our Lombard birth injury attorneys at [[phone]].