Giving birth to a child is one of life’s greatest gifts. The last thing expectant parents want to worry about is the possibility of an injury to their child or to the child’s mother. However, pregnancy and childbirth can take a serious toll on a woman’s body. It is important to understand the complications and injuries that can occur during childbirth. If you were injured while giving birth at a hospital in Maryland, you should speak with an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer. At Bennett & Heyman, P.A., our dedicated attorneys are prepared to fight for you. In this article, we discuss some common injuries to mothers during childbirth.
Types of Maternal Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are not exclusive to newborn babies. Mothers are also susceptible to various injuries that occur during childbirth or after a child has been delivered. The following list describes some common types of injuries that a mother may sustain as a result of childbirth – often due to medical negligence.
Vaginal tears, also known as perineal tears, are rips that occur in the skin or muscles connected to or near the vagina. Vaginal tears often occur if the baby’s head stretches the mother’s cervix too much. It may also occur if the baby is born in a breech position, or if the mother has issues when pushing out the baby.
Generally, perineal tears can be categorized into four different categories:
- First-Degree Tears – First-degree vaginal tears are usually superficial and will usually heal without the need for stitches.
- Second–Degree Tears – These perineal tears affect skin and muscle at a deeper layer. They are more severe than first-degree tears and often require stitches to heal properly.
- Third–Degree Tears – Third-degree tears affect the muscles around the anal sphincter. They are so severe that they often require surgery to correct. Stool leakage and painful sexual intercourse are symptoms that may occur because of a third-degree tear.
- Fourth-Degree Tears – Fourth-degree perineal tears are the most severe type of vaginal tear. These tears affect the anal sphincter and rectal mucosa that lines the rectum. Surgery is needed to correct fourth-degree tears.
An episiotomy is a surgical incision performed by a physician to open the vagina wider to aid with childbirth. This procedure was designed to avoid perineal tears and speed up deliveries. An episiotomy should only be performed in medical emergencies or upon request by the mother. This is because improper suturing or other surgical mistakes may cause the mother to suffer from an infection or severe bleeding.
A mother can suffer from a ruptured uterus if the wall of the uterus tear and cause the child to slip into her abdomen. One potential cause of a ruptured uterus is certain drugs that are used to induce labor. If a mother overdoses on these drugs, she may have forceful contractions that cause the uterus to rupture. Due to the amount of blood a mother may lose because of this condition, an emergency cesarean section (C-section) should be ordered immediately. A mother who has suffered a ruptured uterus will likely need a C-section to have additional children.
Preeclampsia is a condition that causes an expectant mother to suffer from high blood pressure. Preeclampsia, which often begins around the halfway mark of a pregnancy, may also affect the mother’s liver and kidneys. If preeclampsia is not treated, it will cause serious or fatal health issues for the mother and unborn child. Delivery of the baby may be the only cure for preeclampsia. The causes of preeclampsia may include:
- Inadequate blood flow to the uterus
- A weakened immune system
- Damaged blood vessels
There are several other types of maternal birth injuries not listed above that an expectant mother may experience. Some mothers may even experience maternal injuries after childbirth, like post-partum hemorrhaging (PPH).
If a doctor in charge of your pregnancy fails to diagnose a serious condition that then harms you or your child, you may have a valid claim for malpractice in Maryland. In certain circumstances, you may also have a hospital negligence case against the hospital that was responsible for your care. Doctors and hospitals have a duty to avoid causing harm to you and your child, and the breach of that duty can be used to file your medical malpractice lawsuit.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Attorneys Are Ready to Represent You
If you or your child was injured during childbirth, you should speak with an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. have extensive experience in maternal injury cases and will use that experience to fight for you. Our legal team understands the trauma that comes with a maternal injury, and we are here to support your family. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (410) 845-2385 or contact us online.