Giving birth is one of the miracles of this world and of life. Ideally, a woman would go into labor when she is ready to deliver her baby. Her cervix will dilate, the baby will move through the stations (or positions) to the birth canal, and the contractions would push the baby out safely.
However, we know this does not always happen. Sometimes it is necessary to induce labor and begin contractions before a woman’s body tells her to. This could be when the mother is more than two weeks beyond the due date, the mother’s water breaks with no signs of contractions, there is an infection, there is fetal distress, the placenta has ruptured or damaged, fetal growth has stopped, or there are health complications such as bleeding.
When this occurs, a physician will need to make an assessment of the baby and of the mother. Obviously any life-threatening situations needs to be dealt with immediately. Generally this will result in a c-section to have the baby safely removed before one or both of the mother or baby suffer irreversible health complications.
But sometimes the healthcare providers attempt to induce labor. This can be down with a drug known as pitocin which is a synthetic hormone. It is given intravenously and is a replacement for the hormone oxytocin, which produces uterine contractions. This can be important to help start contractions and deliver the baby.
Where there is medical malpractice is where pitocin is administered before the mother is fully dilated. Dilation is referring to how wide the cervix is. The cervix must be dilated to deliver the baby, otherwise the baby will never get past the cervix and into the birth canal. When pitocin is administrated before the cervix is properly dilated, the drug will start contractions and force the baby down and into the cervix.
This is particularly dangerous for the baby and can cause serious birth injuries and brain damage because the contractions will keep pushing the baby into the cervix. But the baby cannot go through the un-dilated cervix, and will get compressed. This can lead to oxygen deprivation or physical damage to the baby. Think of it as the body forces the baby into a brick wall; it will just cause damage.
Another instance where pitocin is dangerous is where the baby physically cannot fit through the cervix or birth canal. This could be where the baby is large, the baby’s head is large, the mother’s pelvis is small, or a combination where it is impossible for the baby to go through the various stations and be born. When pitocin is used in this situation, it will create contractions which will attempt to push the baby out when the baby physically cannot fit. This can squeeze the baby and cause oxygen deprivation and brain injuries. This is medical malpractice.
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