Delayed birth can occur for several reasons. Normal pregnancies should last between 38 and 42 weeks. When a pregnancy continues past this point, it can put the baby at an increased risk of some types of birth injuries. This occurs in about five percent of all pregnancies. Other names for this include post-term, prolonged, or overdue pregnancy.
The phrase “delayed birth” is sometimes used to refer to prolonged labor and delivery, as well. This comes with its own increased risks.
If your child suffered preventable injuries in either of these situations, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can explain your legal options for free. Call (800) 222-9529 now to get started.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Risks Associated with a Delayed Birth
Going a few days or even a week past your due date is not a problem in most cases. The doctor and other medical care providers should monitor both the mother and baby closely. There is typically no increased risk of complications or birth injury in the initial days following a baby’s due date. Once a pregnancy reaches the 42-week mark, the risk of complications begins to increase.
Delaying the birth past this point generally serves no useful purpose and may increase the risk of:
- Problems with the placenta
- Infection in the uterus
- Problems related to the child being larger than most newborns
- Prolonged active labor because of the size of the infant
The risk of stillbirth also increases the longer birth is delayed. This is because the placenta often gradually stops supplying the necessary nutrients and oxygenated blood to the baby.
When it comes to prolonged active labor, there are many risks involved with both remaining in the birth canal too long, and the techniques doctors may use to help deliver the baby sooner. The infant can suffer head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, nerve injuries, and more.
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Taking Action to Prevent Injuries From a Delayed Birth
There are generally two ways that a doctor’s negligence can cause delayed birth:
- The doctor failed to calculate the due date correctly and does not revise the calculation based on the baby’s development; or
- The doctor fails to induce labor within two weeks after the baby’s due date.
In most cases, a doctor should consider inducing labor within two weeks after a woman passes her due date, whether there are signs of complications or not. If there are serious complications, an emergency cesarean section (c-section) delivery may be necessary.
Vaginally delivering a large baby, whether because of being overdue, maternal gestational diabetes, or other factors is a common risk involved in prolonged labor and delivery. If the doctor fails to assess the situation soon enough and plan for a c-section birth, they may need to use forceps or a vacuum extractor device. These devices also increase the risk of birth injury.
If the baby is delivered vaginally, it is imperative that the doctor follows proper protocols for techniques to help the baby move through the birth canal to prevent brachial plexus injuries, cord compression, and other complications.
Pursuing Compensation for Your Child’s Birth Injury Treatment and Care
When a medical malpractice attorney builds a birth injury case based on delayed birth, they need to prove several things:
- The appropriate standard of care
- Liability, including the doctor or the hospital, or both
- When and how the doctor acted negligently
- The family’s recoverable damages
Most of the evidence in this type of case comes from the testimony of an expert medical witness. This person has similar training and experience to the doctor in question and can testify to how the doctor should have acted based on the facts of the case.
For example, they may testify that most doctors would schedule an induction or c-section before the pregnancy reached 42 weeks. If your doctor failed to do so, this may be medical negligence.
Your attorney will also review your child’s medical records to understand their past and current treatment, likely future needs, and how the birth injury affects their everyday life. This will play a role in documenting your recoverable damages, including:
- Past and future medical care costs to treat the birth injury
- Therapy, rehabilitation, and ongoing care
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to the child’s injury or treatment
- Pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages
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Your Attorney Can Help You Build a Case, Based on Your Child’s Delayed Birth Injuries
Having a birth injury attorney who regularly handles this type of case in your local area is important. Every state approaches these cases slightly differently. You will want someone helping you build your case who understands the type of evidence required, whether or not you need an affidavit to show you have a valid case before filing and other applicable laws in your state.
Your attorney will also be able to answer questions specific to your case, based on not only the facts but also the laws that outline the medical malpractice claims process.
Lastly, a medical malpractice birth injury attorney can explain the statute of limitations that sets a deadline for taking legal action in your state. Some states also have laws that toll the statute of limitations when the victim is an infant. Your attorney can help you understand how these rules may affect your case.
Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer About Your Child’s Delayed Birth Injuries
If your child suffered preventable injuries or other ill effects related to a delayed birth or prolonged delivery, you may have a valid medical malpractice case. A member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help.
Call (800) 222-9529 to reach a representative of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group who can explain your rights and help you get started with your case today.