When doctors help you deliver your child, they need to be aware of some of the potential risk factors that could lead to a birth injury. If they overlook these risk factors, it could lead to mistakes that cause life-long injuries or even take the life of the mother or the child. Doctors must not be negligent, they must be aware and alert, and they must give the mother and the child the level of care that they deserve.
The risk factors
Every birth is unique and may come with some of its own risk factors, so do not take the following as an exhaustive list. However, looking at some of the most common factors can help you know what to expect or understand what your doctor should have seen if the injury already occurred. Possible risk factors include:
- Your labor moves very rapidly. In many cases, labor takes hours, if not an entire day. However, if it progresses too quickly, doctors may not be ready for the child to arrive.
- Your labor moves very slowly. For instance, the doctor should know if it is taking so long that they need to do an emergency C-section.
- The baby's head is abnormally large. This can make it difficult to pass through the birth canal.
- The baby is in the breech position -- coming out with the feet first -- or some other unusual position. Babies may be born this way, but it adds another level of complexity to the process.
- The baby arrives prematurely. A birth just a few days or even a week before the due date is likely fine, but children born weeks or months too early are far more likely to have complications.
- The mother has an abnormally shaped pelvis, or one that is too small. This can make it difficult to give birth naturally.
- The baby's birth weight is too low. While the baby may still come out healthy, doctors need to take extra precautions.
- The umbilical cord gets tangled. In the most dangerous cases, it actually wraps itself around the child's neck. If not addressed quickly, this can turn fatal. Even if the child survives, a lack of oxygen could lead to brain damage and other complications.
Again, these are not all of the potential risk factors, but they're a good place to begin.
Did your child suffer a birth injury that you know doctors could have avoided with due care? If so, make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation in New Jersey.