Timely C-section can alleviate some risks of birth injury

Our last blog post may have left some of our Worcester readers with questions. The story involved a mother's lawsuit over a birth injury her baby suffered because of a serious doctor error -- a failure to recognize the warning signs that called for a C-section. Now, there may be some misconceptions in the public mind about why a woman would need to have a C-section performed, so let's take a closer look at the reasons typically underlying the procedure.

C-sections are most often called for when a mother's labor has stalled; in other words, the baby is not progressing towards birth the way it should be. This can happen when a baby's head is too large to progress, or perhaps when the mother's cervix does not open as it should during contractions. In these cases, a C-section is typically needed in order to deliver the baby.

It's also possible for labor to progress while the baby is turned to emerge feet-first or on his or her side. This is more common in situations of twins or triplets, but it can happen with single-baby births as well. In these cases, a timely C-section may avoid risks of physical injury to the baby from being born in these positions.

There are other considerations like health concerns and a mother's history with previous births that should alert an obstetrician to the potential need for a c-section. Like any surgery, of course, there are risks associated with a C-section, but it's important to recognize that proceeding with a natural birth in some situations also carries serious risks of injury to the baby.

Ultimately, your provider should advise you if a C-section might help you deliver a healthy baby, or in an emergency should be able to make that call him or herself. Failure to do so that results in injury or worse may constitute medical malpractice.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "C-section: Why it's done," accessed on Oct. 24, 2014