Prolonged labor and birth asphyxia are two conditions that can occur during labor and delivery. The purpose of this discussion is to talk about these issues from a medical legal point of view. Anytime prolonged labor is present, doctors and nurses must be sure that other issues do not accompany this condition. For some mothers, a prolonged labor might not cause serious problems to the baby, while for other mothers the risks associated may manifest.


Anytime oxygen related issues are present during labor and delivery, the condition HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, is something to be aware of occurring. For many families, HIE, is unknown until their family is experiencing this situation.


What Is Prolonged Labor?


When it comes to giving birth, some women can have a pretty “quick” experience while others might have what is considered a “longer labor.” Depending on whether this is the first child vs a subsequent child can also make a difference in the duration of labor and delivery. For example, according to some literature, first time mothers can be in labor from 12-18 hours. A subsequent labor can be half of that time. If labor goes on for too long or if there is no progression through the stages of labor, the labor can be defined as prolonged labor.


There can be certain maternal risk factors for prolonged labor, including:


  • First time child birth
  • Mom’s weight gain or high body mass index


Prolonged Labor And Birth Asphyxia


A prolonged labor can, in some instances lead to serious injury for a baby. One of the main reasons for this is the risk of oxygen problems. As stated earlier, oxygen related issues, if not corrected, can in some instances lead to the condition HIE. In addition to oxygen problems, a prolonged labor can also create abnormal heart rhythms and abnormal substances in the amniotic fluid.


Birth asphyxia occurs when there is a cutoff of blood and oxygen to the baby’s brain and other organs. A lack of blood and oxygen can create a host of problems for a baby and is a condition that must be accurately diagnosed and treated when there is evidence of this event happening. One way doctors and nurses can be alerted to blood and oxygen problems is with the use of the electronic fetal heart monitor. This device can help understand how well a baby is holding up with a vaginal delivery.


If your baby has been diagnosed with HIE, or a subsequently cerebral palsy (CP), and you have more questions, especially if your delivery was prolonged, pick up the phone and call me. My contact information is below, and I would be happy to listen to your baby’s story.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815


1-833-4 BABY HELP

Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals. BLG handles cases in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and all other Maryland Counties. blgesq Maryland birth injury attorneys