Common Types of Maternal Injuries During Childbirth

Common Types of Maternal Injuries During Childbirth

by / Wednesday, 13 January 2021 / Published in Birth Trauma, Medical Malpractice
Pregnant woman in a hospital bed.

Going through the process of childbirth is never easy, even under the best circumstances. Even with all the progress that has been made in helping make childbirth safer over the years, there are still many things that can potentially go wrong and put both the mother and the child in jeopardy. And when things go wrong, it’s crucial for doctors to step in and take appropriate steps to prevent harm to both the mother and child.

When the topic of birth trauma comes up, the discussion often focuses on injuries to the baby. But it’s very important to remember that missteps during labor and delivery can also potentially have long term consequences for the mother.

Perineal Tearing During Labor

Perineal tears are an extremely common occurrence during delivery, particularly among women giving birth for the first time. It also tends to be more likely during labors that require tools like forceps, deliveries that progress very quickly, deliveries of large babies, and if shoulder dystocia occurs during delivery. In most cases, perineal tears are first-degree tears and will heal on their own. However, more severe tears can require stitches and result in long-term damage to the mother’s body, potentially causing problems like incontinence.

Ruptured Uterus

If a woman has had a prior cesarean, there is an increased chance that she could experience a ruptured uterus because this most commonly occurs at the site of their previous cesarean incision. If a uterine rupture occurs, it’s extremely important that doctors act quickly because it can become a life-threatening situation. There’s a chance that the mother could lose a lot of blood and may need a transfusion, along with other types of injuries like urologic injuries.

Postpartum Hemorrhage

It’s perfectly normal to experience some degree of bleeding in the weeks after giving birth. However, hemorrhages can be extremely dangerous for the mother if the signs aren’t noticed by doctors right away. Secondary hemorrhage is rare, but it can be extremely dangerous. Some risk factors for secondary hemorrhage include uterine infections, a prior history of secondary hemorrhage, and retained fragments of the placenta.

Nerve Injuries

During labor and delivery, it is possible for the mother to experience nerve injuries that impact sensation and movement in various parts of her body. In the case of a lumbosacral plexus injury, the injury is caused by an improperly placed epidural and can result in problems in the legs, like a burning sensation, numbness, shooting pain, or reduced movement. Femoral nerve dysfunction is another common type of nerve injury that can occur during childbirth if pressure is left on the femoral nerve for an extended amount of time. Since the femoral nerve controls movement in the hips and legs, women who experience this type of nerve injury may need to use a wheelchair or walker because of numbness in their legs or feet.

Get Help from a Birth Trauma Lawyer

The sad reality of many birth trauma cases, whether the mother or the child was injured, is that those injuries didn’t have to happen. Very often, they’re the result of medical malpractice. Malpractice cases can be very difficult, so it’s important to have a birth trauma lawyer on your side who can help you with your claim, answer all your questions, and help you get the compensation you need. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a Michigan-based personal injury lawyer experienced in helping people who have been in your shoes. Contact us for help with your case.

Image: iStock / Motortion

TOP