Prolonged and Arrested Labor

Prolonged and Arrested LaborProlonged and Arrested Labor

When a baby is born, a number of processes occur in succession. The goal of every delivery is to bring a healthy baby into the world, without complications.

During active labor, the cervix should be working to stretch (through contractions) to a diameter of 10 centimeters; this is the first stage. The second stage of labor is the time between complete dilation of the cervix and the delivery of the baby. The third and final stage is the passing of the placenta. Many deliveries go by smoothly and with minimal delay, but occasionally, a mother may experience prolonged or arrested labor.

By definition, prolonged labor is that which lasts more than 18-24 hours. Arrested labor is when the delivery process stops completely. This usually occurs after the cervix has dilated to four centimeters, and contractions increase in severity and frequency, but fetal progression through the birth canal slows or ceases.

Causes of Prolonged and Arrested Labor

Two things can interfere with the progression of labor.

Mechanical impediments occur when the baby’s size or position makes delivery difficult:

  • baby is in a breech position – buttocks, rather than the head, are positioned at the opening of the birth canal
  • baby is facing the mother’s abdomen,
  • baby’s head is too large to be pushed through the pelvic opening (cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD)

Inadequate contractions refer to the continuation of uterine contractions without further dilation of the cervix. This can occur when:

  • tumors are present in the uterus
  • uterus muscles are overstretched

Prolonged and arrested labor can be scary, and detrimental, to both mother and baby. The risks of infection, birth injuries, and death increase when a mother is stuck in the birth stage for too long.

The Dangers and Risks

The medical team can turn to various procedures, depending on the cause and nature of labor delay, to induce delivery:

  • administering drugs, such as Pitocin
  • artificially rupturing the membrane (breaking the mother’s water)
  • using vaccum extractor or forceps
  • delivering via emergency C-section

Unfortunately, the methods sometimes used to keep things moving come with risks. Labor-inducing drugs can deplete a baby’s oxygen and lower the baby’s heart rate. The improper use of medical tools can cause brain bleeds, hemorrhages, seizures, ischemia, Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemia encephalopathy, and developmental delays. Waiting too long to perform an emergency C-section can cause the baby to suffer from fetal distress and brain damage. Additionally, induction can cause uterine rupture and excess bleeding after delivery.

A Doctor’s Responsibility

The doctor is directly responsible for the health outcomes of his patients, both mother and child. If a doctor does not take proper action during a prolonged or arrested labor, such as not performing a C-section soon enough or inducing labor too early or in a patient who may not be a safe candidate for an induction of labor, serious consequences may arise.

If you or someone you love has suffered due to a doctor’s negligence during a prolonged or arrested labor, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. It is bad enough to have to deal with the emotional consequences of any kind of medical mistake, you shouldn’t have to suffer financially, too.

Contact Thurswell Law. We have been successfully representing people just like you in birth injury cases since 1968. We charge no fee unless you collect, and we always offer free consultations. Call our toll free number today: 866-354-5544

(248) 354-2222

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Southfield, MI 48075

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