Inappropriate Labor Induction or Failure to Induce Labor When Necessary Can Result in Birth Injury
Expecting mothers are sometimes advised by a medical professional to artificially induce uterine contractions through a procedure known as labor induction, which causes the woman to go into labor quickly after the procedure and have their baby shortly thereafter. The procedure can be done using drugs or by physical means, and in certain circumstances it is a necessary and important practice if the health of the mother or child is at risk without the procedure.
There are a variety of situations in which labor induction may be necessary. These include a late term pregnancy, an infection, abnormal fetal growth, placental abruption, and others. Sometimes doctors and expecting mothers may decide to induce labor when it is not medically necessary. Labor may be induced if an expecting mother does not live near enough to a hospital to safely commute there once labor begins naturally, or if a woman has a history of rapid deliveries, as a way to avoid the dangers of an unattended delivery. Some women may request labor induction as a matter of convenience so that they can choose exactly when and where to give birth.
Risks Related to Labor Induction
There are some risks to labor induction, however, and some women who choose to have the procedure done for reasons of convenience may not be making a wise decision. Risks related to the procedure include premature birth, having a baby with a dangerously low heart rate, infection, umbilical cord problems, and excessive bleeding. For some women, an induced labor may increase the chance that a C-section will need to be performed.
Labor and Delivery Decisions Must be Made with Informed Consent
Doctors and medical providers have a legal obligation to obtain informed consent from a patient before performing a medical procedure, including a labor induction. Informed consent requires that a patient has a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of a procedure, and makes a decision to undergo the procedure while they have adequate reasoning faculties. If an expecting mother decided to have a labor induction and was not advised by her doctor of the risks of the procedure, she likely did not give her informed consent. Medical providers can be held legally accountable for damages if they fail to obtain informed consent from a patient before performing a procedure. If a patient does not give informed consent for a procedure, and she or her child are injured or die as a result, the medical providers may be liable for medical malpractice, and the victim could seek compensation through a Maryland birth injury lawsuit.
A Recent Study Suggests that Labor Induction in First-Time Mothers Does Not Increase Likelihood of a C-Section
A recently published news article discusses a study performed on 619 pregnant women in the UK that found that inducing labor in the subjects did not increase the chances that a C-section would become necessary. These findings challenge previous studies that came to the opposite conclusion, finding that inducing labor increased the likelihood that a C-section would become necessary. According to the article discussing the study, the subjects were all first-time mothers who were not experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, and the labor inductions were performed at 39 weeks, which is one week before an average labor begins. Labor induction may still increase the risk of a C-section in women who have already had a child or are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. Regardless of the results of this recent study, doctors must continue to receive informed consent before performing a labor induction.
Contact a Birth Injury Attorney with Questions About a Possible Claim
If you think you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice that resulted in a birth injury to a mother or child, the qualified Maryland and Washington, D.C. birth injury lawyers at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt can help you pursue your claim. Whether a doctor failed to obtain informed consent before performing a procedure, or any other injuries occurred even with informed consent, our skilled Maryland birth injury attorneys know the legal strategies that may be able to get our clients the compensation they deserve. With our knowledge and experience, you can be confident that your case is being handled properly. Contact the qualified Maryland and D.C. birth injury attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt today. Call us at (410) 998-3600 or contact us through our website to schedule a risk-free consultation.