The Risks of Birth Injuries With Prolonged & Arrested Labor
When you’re eager to meet your new child, even a normal delivery can feel like an eternity. Being born takes time, but there is a point when labor becomes unusually long and the longer labor takes, the more likely it becomes for something to go wrong.
Prolonged labor, also referred to as “dystocia” or “failure to progress,” is typically considered to occur 18-24 hours after contractions begin, but this can vary depending on whether or not the mother has given birth before. Since first-time mothers often have longer labors, their labor might not be considered to be “prolonged” until the later end of that time frame. In cases of pregnancies involving twins, prolonged labor happens after the 16 hour mark. Sometimes, labor can be drawn out because of arrested labor, which occurs when the cervix dilates a few centimeters, but then stops even though contractions continue.
There are a few different reasons why labor might become prolonged or arrested. In many cases, prolonged labor happens because the child is too large to move through the mother’s pelvis. It also commonly happens when the child is in an unusual position, whether it’s a breech position or of the baby is facing the mother’s abdomen. Arrested or prolonged labor can also be the result of weak contractions or inadequate uterine activity.
When prolonged or arrested labor occurs, it’s important for doctors to take appropriate action to deliver the baby as quickly and safely as possible, whether it’s by ordering an emergency C-section, using birth-assisting tools, or administering medication to strengthen contractions. Prolonged labors can put children at risk for things like a loss of oxygen, cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and intracranial hemorrhage. If birth-assisting tools like forceps or vacuum extractors are used, those tools can also raise the risks of other types of injuries if they’re used incorrectly.
If you experienced a prolonged or arrested labor and your child was injured around the time of birth, don’t hesitate to contact a birth trauma lawyer as quickly as possible. The effects of birth injuries can potentially last a lifetime and in far too many cases, the injuries could have been prevented. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have lawyers on staff who are experienced in working with those impacted by birth trauma. Contact us today with any questions you have and to learn more about your legal options.