A birth is induced when labor is artificially started through medical interventions. Although inductions, when correctly performed, are generally safe, it is essential to be informed of the potential risks involved.
How is Labor Induced?
Labor can be induced using one of the following methods:
- Prostaglandins—suppositories that cause the uterus to contract
- Pitocin—synthetic hormone given through an IV at low doses to stimulate contractions
- Artificially breaking the water—the doctor uses a tool to break open the amniotic sac
- Sweeping the membranes—a doctor uses a finger to separate the membranes between the baby and the cervix
- Balloon/Foley Catheter—inserted to provide pressure to the cervix like a baby’s head would
Why is Labor Induced?
A healthcare provider should only recommend induction when the risks of waiting for labor outweigh the risks of inducing labor. Common reasons for induction include:
- Pregnancy that has gone beyond the 42nd week without spontaneous labor
- A baby that is larger than average for the gestational age
- Water has broken, but labor hasn’t begun
- Mother’s high blood pressure
- Placental abruption
- Fetal growth restriction—when the baby has stopped growing
Inducing labor should be done with extreme caution and doctors should avoid inducing labor for convenience reasons and should not perform elective inductions too early. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends not performing elective inductions before 39 weeks gestation. If a doctor elects to induce early, this could be malpractice.
Risks of Induced Labor
- Infection—some methods of induction, such as breaking the water and stripping membranes, can lead to a risk of infection
- Low Heart Rate—Pitocin use can lower a baby’s heart rate
- Lack of Oxygen—Pitocin can also lead to hyperstimulation of the uterus which can cause abnormal or rapid contractions depriving the baby of oxygen. Lack of oxygen can lead to birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
- Failed Induction—About 75% of first-time mothers experience a successful induction and vaginal delivery. That means that the other 25% have a failed induction that ends in a C-section.
Negligence During Labor Induction
In addition to the risks involved in induced labor, there is also the danger that a healthcare provider will act negligently during the induction process. A mother’s labor and delivery team should be aware of the risks involved in an induced delivery. The team should adequately monitor the baby during labor and be prepared to react quickly if the baby is in distress.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If your child has been injured as the result of an induced labor, you need to have a medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MED-LAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits available. Se habla espaňol.