Prolonged labor can increase the chances of injury to the child. After a certain amount of time, many doctors will suggest moving on to other options, like a C-section.
Why does a long delivery increase the risks? Some of the reason is just that there is more exposure to potential injury if the event takes longer. Part of it is also that there is an underlying reason for the prolonged labor, and that reason in and of itself can be dangerous.
Though prolonged labor can happen for many reasons, some of the top causes include:
- The birth canal is too narrow
- The baby is too large
- The baby's position is not normal
- The contractions are weak
For example, a baby is typically born with the head facing down. If the baby has its feet facing down, it can be problematic. The baby can take longer to progress, may be exposed to risks involving oxygen supply and may need extra assistance to be born.
If the baby does need assistance, that just increases the odds of injury again. A doctor could decide to use forceps, which can grasp the baby and help pull it forward. This can put stress on the baby's body even when used properly. When used improperly, they could lead to cuts, bruises, broken bones and other such complications. However, the risk of not using them could be that the baby cannot breathe properly and isn't moving. Doctors have to make the right call and they have to do it quickly.
If your baby does suffer an injury during labor, you need to know what options you have. While nobody likes to think about lawsuits, that may be what's necessary to better secure your child's future.