Can A Delayed Delivery Cause Birth Injury?


If there was a delay in delivery during your baby’s birth in Philadelphia and your baby suffered an injury, that delay could be the cause of your child’s injury.

Issues that can cause birth injury

The following are issues that can cause birth injury:

Failure to properly monitor the baby with fetal heart tracing

During the third trimester of pregnancy and during labor, it’s important to monitor the baby’s heart rate and rhythm. Measuring the baby’s heart data helps ensure the baby is doing well and is healthy.

Fetal heart tracing (or fetal heart monitoring) is the process used to assess the baby’s well-being. If the medical staff at the Philadelphia hospital where you delivered your baby failed to properly monitor your baby’s heart, they might not deliver the baby promptly enough.

An example of this failure is if they don’t notice abnormalities in the fetal heart rate that show the baby is in distress. If the baby is in distress, the baby should be delivered immediately. If there was a delay in delivery of your baby, that delay could have caused your child’s injury.

Failure to perform necessary or adequate vaginal exams

Medical staff including doctors, nurses, and midwives, perform vaginal exams – or cervical exams – to determine:

  • Dilation (how wide the cervix has opened)
  • Ripeness (how firm or soft the cervix is)
  • Effacement (how thin the cervix is)
  • Station (the position of the baby in relation to the pelvis)
  • Position of the baby (the direction the baby is facing)
  • Position of the cervix (how far to the front the cervix has transitioned)

If the medical staff fails to perform the vaginal exam or performs it inadequately, this could result in mismanagement of the labor leading to delays in delivery and injury to the baby.

Failure to recognize decreased fetal movement

Fetal movement describes the fetus’ body’s movements during pregnancy. Towards the end of the pregnancy, it becomes important to monitor fetal movement to determine the baby’s well-being. Decreased fetal movement could indicate serious problems such as placental insufficiency or nuchal cord (where the umbilical cord wraps itself around the baby’s neck). If the Philadelphia medical staff failed to recognize decreased fetal movement, they may not recommend delivering early enough and that delay could cause serious birth injury.

Failure to order c-section delivery of the baby

Certain emergency situations arise during childbirth that require an immediate cesarean section (c-section) delivery of the baby. If the Philadelphia medical staff fails to order a c-section and instead proceed with a prolonged and complicated vaginal delivery, that delay in delivery could result in a serious birth injury and permanent complications for the baby.

Failure to perform a timely c-section in the setting of placental abruption

The placenta is a temporary organ that develops during pregnancy. Placental abruption happens when the placenta separates from the uterine wall before the baby is delivered. When this happens, the baby could lose vital nutrients and oxygen. If the medical staff fails to perform a timely c-section, placental abruption could be very dangerous or even fatal for mother and the baby.

Failure to perform a timely c-section in the setting of significant bleeding

Ordinarily, the mother loses blood during labor because some blood vessels are opened when the placenta detaches from the uterus. Blood loss is considered significant if the mother loses more
blood than usual and/or the mother has symptoms of serious blood loss, such as low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, dizziness, light-headedness, fatigue, and weakness. In the face of significant bleeding, the medical staff’s failure to perform a timely c-section could result in birth injury.

Delay in ordering and carrying out emergency c-section delivery when signs of fetal distress are present

If a baby’s heart rate is too slow, too fast, or notably irregular, the baby could be in fetal distress. Fetal distress can occur relatively quickly so it’s important for medical staff to monitor the baby’s well-being during labor. If the baby is in distress for too long, the baby could lose oxygen and/or suffer brain damage. When medical staff notice fetal distress, they should order an emergency c-section. If they don’t perform a c-section fast enough, that delay could cause the baby to suffer from ongoing distress, deprivation of oxygen and serious injury.

If you believe a delay in the delivery of your child might have resulted in your child’s birth injury, contact VSCP LAW at or call (215) 960-0000, toll-free 1-(888)-880-VSCP. The lawyers at VSCP LAW have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients in cases involving delayed delivery and resulting birth injuries.

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