As a pregnant mother’s due date approaches, the baby should naturally move into a head-down position which will make delivery easier. Unfortunately, not every child will move into this position. Instead, the baby’s buttocks or feet may be in a position to exit the birth canal first. This is referred to as a “breech birth” and happens in about 3 out of 100 full-term births in the United States. If you have suffered complications with your pregnancy because of a breech birth, you should speak with an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. have years of experience handling birth injury claims in Maryland, and are ready to use that experience to represent you. In this article, we discuss some of the common complications of breech births in Maryland.
What is a Breech Birth?
Approximately three to four weeks before delivery, babies move into a head-down position, also known as “vertex presentation.” Babies who do not assume this position in that timeframe will be in breech position. Breech position, or breech presentation, is when a child’s buttocks, feet, or both are in a position to emerge from the birth canal first. Children who are in breech presentation are often born healthy. However, breech babies have an increased risk of suffering from different health complications.
A physician can ascertain which position a baby is in by carefully feeling the baby through the mother’s abdomen. There are certain points on the mother’s abdomen that will help a physician determine whether a child is in vertex or breech presentation. If the physician believes the baby is in breech presentation, an ultrasound may be ordered to verify that belief. However, a child may continue to shift until labor begins and could move into the common head-down position by then.
The true cause behind why a baby may not move into vertex presentation is still unknown. However, there are some risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a breech birth:
- Being pregnant with twins, triplets, and so forth
- The mother has been pregnant before
- The amniotic fluid that envelops the baby inside the uterus is excessive or inadequate
- The placenta, which provides the child with oxygen and nutrients, covers the cervix and causes bleeding during the pregnancy and delivery
- The baby is unable to turn inside the womb
Babies that are born prematurely, meaning at 37 weeks or earlier, also have a higher risk of entering breech presentation. If you want to know more about breech births and how they could affect your child, you should speak with an experienced Baltimore birth injury lawyer.
Breech Birth Complications that Can Affect Your Pregnancy
There are various complications stemming from a breech birth that may affect your pregnancy. The hospital and medical staff in charge of your pregnancy should ensure that a breech birth will not be too difficult on the child or the mother. If a breech birth is deemed too dangerous, an emergency cesarean section should be performed. If a physician fails to diagnose a situation that may put the baby in distress, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice or hospital negligence.
One complication that may occur because of a breech birth is the baby becoming trapped during delivery. Usually, a newborn baby’s head is the largest part of their body. This is important because the baby’s head will help stretch the mother’s cervix enough to allow the rest of the body to be safely delivered. However, if the baby is in breech presentation, their feet or buttocks will emerge from the birth canal first. This is troublesome because the child’s feet or buttocks may not be large enough to stretch the cervix for the rest of the body to emerge safely. This means that there is a higher likelihood of the baby’s shoulders or head becoming trapped between the bones of the mother’s pelvis. A baby that becomes trapped like this may suffer from fractures, broken bones, and several other injuries.
Another common breech birth complication is cord prolapse. Cord prolapse occurs when the umbilical cord slips into the vagina before the child is delivered. This is dangerous for the child because if pressure is placed on the umbilical cord, it may stifle the baby’s supply of blood and oxygen.
A physician may also try to rotate the baby prior to delivery. This procedure is known as “external version.” While the procedure does not require any surgery, it may cause the mother severe pain. If the child becomes distressed during this procedure, the physician should abort the external version and ensure the child was not harmed.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Fight for Your Family
If your child was injured during a breech birth, you should contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney today. The lawyers at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. know how frightening a breech birth can be for you and your family. We are here to support you in your time of need and will help you hold negligent medical practitioners accountable for their actions. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (410) 845-2385 or contact us online.