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What is a C-section?
A caesarean delivery or caesarean section (C-section for short), is a surgical procedure in which the baby is delivered through an incision in the mother’s belly and uterus.
What are the reasons to perform a C-section?
Obstetricians perform C-sections when a vaginal delivery would put the mother or baby at risk. Reasons for a C-section include, but are not limited to:
- Prolonged labor, failure to progress
- Fetal distress
- Breech birth
- Placenta problems (e.g., placental abruption, when the placenta separates early from the uterus; and placenta previa, when the baby’s placenta partially or fully covers the mother’s cervix)
- Umbilical cord issues
- Failure of delivery by forceps or vacuum device
- Large size of the baby
- Hypertension or tachycardia in the mother
- Shape of the mother’s pelvis
- Mother’s history of previous C-section(s)
Planned vs. Emergency C-section
In many situations, the obstetrician will recognize an issue before labor begins and schedule a C-section. There are other circumstances, however, in which a complication arises during the birthing process, and the obstetrician has to order an emergency C-section. If the fetus is experiencing distress, there is a very limited amount of time to deliver the baby before tragic injuries occur.
Detecting Fetal Distress C-section
How is fetal distress detected? The mother may feel decreased movement of her baby. Meconium may be present in the amniotic fluid. But often, the key is in the fetal monitoring strips. They are small devices attached to the mother’s belly that use Doppler ultrasound to capture and track the baby’s heartbeat. The obstetrician and labor and delivery nurses observe the carditocography for: increased or decreased fetal heart rate, especially during and after a contraction; decreased variability in the fetal heart rate; and late decelerations.
If the doctors and nurses fail to detect the fetal distress (or placental abruption or other clear indicator), or it they detect the distress but fail to perform an emergency C-section in a timely manner, the baby may be deprived of oxygen and suffer life-altering injuries. Time if of the essence, so the health care workers need to be adept at quickly coming together and performing a C-section.
A delayed C-section may result in the following injuries to the baby:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
- Damage to vital organs
All of these birth injuries can be significant and life altering for both the child and their parents. It’s not always clear right away if you have a lawsuit, but it’s important to have your case investigated ASAP as the time limits for suing can be as little as two years from the delivery date if the doctors are part of a federally funded clinic and no more than eight years from the delivery date. It takes around six months to investigate a case properly so time is usually of the essence. If you believe that the health care providers and/or hospital were negligent, and delayed your C-section, resulting in serious birth injuries to your baby, please contact us to speak with a lawyer.