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The Risks of Prolonged Labor to Mother and Child

Childbirth is a physically demanding process that can take a toll on both mother and child. An already grueling situation, however, can become even more dangerous in cases of prolonged labor, which occurs when a mother remains in labor longer than the standard period of time. Prolonged labor can carry a higher risk of birth injuries, making it absolutely crucial for doctors and other healthcare professionals to monitor their cases carefully and respond both quickly and appropriately to minimize or avoid the risk of injury to both of their patients. Unfortunately, not all healthcare providers use the care that they should, leaving their patients at risk of serious injury or disability. If you or a loved one were injured during childbirth because of a doctor’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Please call us today to speak with one of our dedicated Miami birth injury attorneys about your legal options. 

What Qualifies as Prolonged Labor?

Defining what qualifies as prolonged labor is difficult, as it varies depending on a range of factors, including whether it is the mother’s first experience in childbirth, and whether the mother is carrying more than one baby. Generally, mothers giving birth for the first time are in labor longer, often for up to 18 hours, while non-first time mothers may be in labor for fewer than five hours. Most experts agree, however, that labor between 18 and 24 hours qualifies as prolonged. Prolonged labor could be the result of:

  • The large size of the baby;
  • The abnormal positioning of the baby;
  • Placental abruption;
  • Low blood pressure of the mother;
  • The size of the birth canal; or
  • Overly weak contractions. 

Whatever the cause, prolonged labor can be dangerous not only for a woman but also for her child. Fortunately, there are ways that medical professionals can intervene and so prevent serious or long-lasting injury to either patient. 

Medical Intervention

A doctor that notices signs of prolonged labor has a few different options, including:

  • Administering certain medications to speed contractions;
  • Using forceps or a vacuum to deliver the baby; or
  • Performing a cesarean section. 

Deciding on one of these methods quickly is often critical during prolonged labor, as babies have difficulty receiving oxygen during this time. A prolonged lack of oxygen can cause serious physical and mental injuries for the baby, including cerebral palsy, so a doctor that fails to properly monitor a woman or child, or who fails to respond appropriately to signs of prolonged labor, could cause irreparable harm. To prove that a doctor was negligent in this way, the wronged parties will need to prove that the at-fault party failed to provide the proper standard of care during delivery. This in turn, will require strong evidence, including witness testimony, hospital records, doctor’s notes, and even expert opinion. 

Get Legal Help Today

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, our dedicated Miami birth injury lawyers are well-versed in handling the complexities of medical malpractice claims. Call us at 305-371-2692 or contact us online to set up an initial case review today.