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Many birth defects, birth injuries, and birth trauma can be prevented if mother and child are carefully monitored during pregnancy, labor and delivery. When the failure to exercise proper care results in injury to mother or child, the doctor, nurse, or other responsible health care professional may be liable for medical malpractice.
Large Baby – By monitoring the mother for maternal diabetes and performing ultrasounds of the developing fetus, doctors can determine whether the pregnancy involves a large baby, which increases the risk of birth trauma and requires a different level of care and attention than other pregnancies. Failure to monitor can cause unnecessary complications.
Long Pregnancy – A pregnancy that lasts longer than usual, or a long period of labor, both raise the risk of birth trauma. Inducing labor through Pitocin, or the use of an epidural, can also increase the chances of birth injury. A nurse’s failure to notify the obstetrician of a long labor, or the improper administration of Pitocin or an epidural, may be malpractice.
C-Section – A cesarean birth may be necessary for the health of the baby or even to save the life of the mother. Common reasons to perform a cesarean include fetal bleeding, placenta previa (placenta covers or blocks the cervix), or placental abruption (separation of placenta from uterus). A large baby may also be an indication that a vaginal birth is not recommended. The decision to perform a contraindicated vaginal birth, or delay in performing a c-section, can be malpractice, with liability for any resulting injuries.