Leeseberg & Valentine

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Would a C-section have changed the outcome of your child's birth?

When you first found out you were pregnant, you probably pictured yourself going through natural childbirth, perhaps with the assistance of an epidural, but with no other medical intervention needed. You may have envisioned yourself exhausted, but happily holding a beautiful newborn.

However, when the time came to give birth, certain medical issues precluded you from experiencing a natural birth. You may believe that your baby suffered injuries that may change the course of his or her life, and yours, because your doctor failed to perform a Cesarean birth in a timely manner.

When is a C-section warranted?

In most cases, doctors don't like to perform C-sections without a medical reason. Some of those reasons may include the following:

  • If your uterus ruptures, which is rare but possible, you will need an emergency C-section.
  • If the baby's umbilical cord slips through your cervix and out of your vagina, called a cord prolapse, your doctor should order an emergency C-section. This condition most often occurs in breech births.
  • If your baby is breech and doesn't move into the appropriate position, you may need a C-section, especially if the baby is premature.
  • If the placenta separates from the uterine lining, called a placental abruption, in the third trimester, it could jeopardize the flow of oxygen to your baby.
  • If the placenta is lying on your cervix, called a placenta previa, in the third trimester, it may be necessary to deliver your baby via C-section depending on the severity.
  • If your cervix fails to open beyond five centimeters within a reasonable amount of time, called failure to progress, the surgical option may be necessary.
  • If your baby fails to get enough oxygen during labor, called fetal distress, this can quickly necessitate an emergency C-section.

Other situations in which a C-section may be appropriate are in cases of multiple births (such as twins), if you suffer from diabetes or preeclampsia or have active genital herpes. Your doctor may also perform a C-section if your baby already suffers from certain birth defects in order to reduce the stress labor and delivery put on the baby.

When is legal action warranted?

In some cases, a wait-and-see approach may be appropriate, but in others, waiting could cause serious injuries or death to the baby and possibly even the mother. Whether a doctor or other medical personnel's actions constitute medical malpractice may not always be easy to determine. These cases often require the opinion of a medical expert and someone experienced in taking these claims to court due to their complexities.

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