In a normal labor and delivery process, an infant is born within a relatively short window of time and without any medical complications. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Prolonged labor can be a difficult experience for both the mother and baby, with potential health risks that can last long after birth. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of prolonged labor, as well as its possible effects on newborns.
Causes of Prolonged Labor
Prolonged labor is defined as a labor lasting more than 19 hours for first-time mothers or 14 hours for mothers who have given birth before. Prolonged labor is usually caused by various factors, including:
- Mismanaged medications during delivery like Pitocin or Cytotec
- An overly large baby
- An improperly positioned baby
- An abnormally shaped pelvis in the mother
These are all avoidable causes of prolonged labor if they are identified early enough in the pregnancy.
Effects on Newborns
When labor is prolonged, newborns can experience several risks and complications. This includes an increased chance of infection due to the extra time in the birth canal as well as a higher risk for low Apgar scores. Low Apgar scores indicate that a baby’s breathing, heartbeat, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color are less than normal at birth.
Prolonged labor can also put stress and strain on the baby, leading to oxygen deprivation, or asphyxia, which can cause brain damage. This can result in physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental delays and impairments. Longer labors may also increase the risk of the infant having respiratory distress syndrome or jaundice. In more extreme cases, it can even lead to cerebral palsy or other long-term neurological disabilities.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Wilmington, NC
If you or your baby were harmed during delivery due to prolonged labor that could have been avoided, you may be entitled to compensation. At Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP, our attorneys are experienced in handling medical malpractice claims related to the negligent care from obstetricians, nurses and other healthcare providers. We will review your case and help you determine if a claim is appropriate for your situation.
Contact us today at (866) 380-2281 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Wilmington medical malpractice lawyers.