Labor and delivery are largely natural processes. Women have had babies without medical intervention for millennia. Even some mothers today find themselves having babies at home or on the way to the hospital when labor progresses more quickly than they expect.
Most of the time, medical professionals are there to provide support and monitor for signs of a catastrophic medical issue. Sometimes, they need to intervene to save the mother or child. Unfortunately, some of the interventions they perform can cause injuries to the mother or child.
Forceps and vacuum extraction
Sometimes, doctors will use tools to help a child physically exit the birth canal. Forceps are tools that help move or turn the child, while vacuum extraction can help pull them out. Both of these systems can cause physical injuries to a baby’s head, eyes and neck.
Episiotomy and the father stitch
Women can sometimes tear badly during delivery, leading to bleeding, prolonged recovery and possibly the development of scar tissue. Doctors may make a clean cut, called an episiotomy, to facilitate an easier birth.
Episiotomies can worsen tearing when improperly performed. They can also cause nerve damage. A doctor repairing an episiotomy or a tear could also do long-term damage by adding a so-called “father stitch” to tighten the vaginal canal to a smaller state than prior to birth.
Inappropriate drug administration
There are certain drugs that doctors like to use during labor and delivery that do not have FDA approval for use in labor or by pregnant women. Improper drug administration can cause catastrophic side effects like hemorrhage and death.
Doctors need to know when to intervene during birth to prevent injury but also when to let the body manage its own processes. Realizing that improper interventions can be as dangerous as not intervening could help you identify medical mistakes during birth as medical malpractice.