What happens if a baby is in the birth canal too long depends on a number of factors. In general, a baby can suffer serious injuries in this situation, including loss of life. Doctors should treat this situation as a medical emergency. Providing immediate medical intervention and delivering the child as soon as possible may help to prevent serious, potentially life-long complications.
A baby may remain in the birth canal too long because:
- An abnormal presentation or position
- Their shoulders or chest are stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, known as shoulder dystocia
- The mother’s contractions weakened, and progress stopped
Because of the forces involved in labor and the compression that the baby experiences in the birth canal, birth asphyxia is a possibility. Especially with shoulder dystocia, the umbilical cord may be unable to circulate oxygenated blood throughout the baby’s body.
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Birth Asphyxia Can Be Deadly if the Baby Is Not Delivered
When there is a risk of birth asphyxia, the doctor may have just minutes to deliver the baby to avoid serious damage to the newborn’s brain or other important organs. Without the proper oxygen and nutrients, the baby could suffer:
- Brain injury
- Heart damage
- Lung damage
- And more
Brain injuries could lead to a variety of diagnoses, from cerebral palsy to epilepsy to developmental disorders to hearing or vision loss. In some cases, there may be signs of these conditions shortly after birth, but in others, it will take longer to recognize the signs.
If your child was in the birth canal for too long, your doctor should monitor them closely for signs of a problem, such as:
- Difficulty feeding
- Difficulty breathing
- Floppy or rigid postures
- Asymmetrical movements of the mouth, arms, or legs
- Missed developmental milestones
- Concerns with the development of motor skills
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Prompt Intervention May Be Necessary to Protect Mom and Baby
What happens if a baby is in the birth canal too long is that the doctor may need to determine why and intervene. Often, this may involve performing an assisted vaginal delivery. This may involve the use of a vacuum extraction device that pulls the baby down the birth canal using a vacuum cup attached to their head. Forceps are still used for this procedure, as well.
If the baby is stuck because of shoulder dystocia, there are specific manual maneuvers the doctor may try instead. Doctors may need to push the infant back into the womb and perform an emergency C-section in some cases.
If your baby suffered birth asphyxia, they may require immediate care and support to resuscitate them, to aid in breathing, and to reduce the risk of lasting damage. This may include several days of care, or longer, in the neonatal intensive care unit. This can allow hospital staff to monitor your child closely and offer any additional treatment or support as necessary.
Medical Malpractice Birth Injuries and Your Child
If your baby was in the birth canal for too long and the medical care team failed to properly intervene, this may have caused or played a role in the injuries they suffered. In other cases, doctor negligence during prenatal can lead to risky delivery that could have been prevented. If your child has a diagnosis related to birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or another birth injury, you may be able to hold the doctor or hospital legally responsible in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
An attorney who handles birth injuries may be able to help you gather evidence, assign liability, and identify a medical expert to testify that medical negligence occurred in your case.
Depending on your child’s injuries and the laws of your state, your financial recovery could include damages such as:
- Current and future medical care related to their diagnosis
- Ongoing care costs
- Lost wages for the time you needed to take away from work because of their illness
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
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The Birth Injury Lawyers Group May Be Able to Help You
Reach out to get help from a representative of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. We can review your case for free and determine if we think you qualify to take legal action. Dial (800) 222-9529 to reach us now.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group represents families nationwide in medical malpractice lawsuits. We handle many cases on a contingency-fee basis with no up-front payments required.