What Is A Uterine Rupture?
Uterine rupture is a serious complication during labor and delivery. It occurs when the uterine wall is detached or compromised in some way. During a uterine rupture, the contents can spill into the abdominal cavity, causing serious harm to mother and baby. The harm to the baby can stem from oxygen related issues such as fetal hypoxia or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Because the lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage in a baby, a uterine rupture can in some cases lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis in a baby later down the line. Parents may be “tipped off” to a possible brain injury when the child is blue in color, must be taken to the NICU, and suffers seizures. Seizures are an important finding. Doctors must be ready to perform an emergency C-Section when uterine ruptures present due to the risk of fetal hypoxia.
For many mothers, the likelihood of a uterine rupture is greatest during labor and delivery. With that said, the rupture can occur sometimes during pregnancy. The chances of a uterine rupture increase when a mother has had a previous C-Section. Ruptures from previous C-Sections can be due to scar tissue from the past C-Section. Doctors must know and understand a patient’s history because the history can contain information pertinent to treatment.
Uterine Rupture Risk Factors
As noted above, having a previous C-Section can increase the risk of a uterine rupture. Below are some of the risk factors associated with uterine rupture:
Complete Uterine Scar
Vaginal Birth Following A C-Section (VBAC): Women who have had a previous C-Section and opt for a VBAC carry a risk for having a uterine rupture. The type of C-Section can increase or lower the risk of a uterine rupture. For example, the “classical” C-Section, in which the cut is made vertically, up into the abdomen, can weaken the uterus. These types of cuts increase the chance of a uterine rupture.
Uterine Surgeries To Remove Fibroids
Previous Uterine Rupture
Abortion: The use of sharp instruments during the procedure
A Women Who Is Assaulted (Assault & Battery)
Labor Stimulation: Oxytocin
Multiple Babies (Twins, etc…)
Obesity In Mother
Babies have a limited time to be delivered when a uterine rupture is suspected. This is because mother’s bleeding can lead to a reduced level of blood and oxygen in the baby. A baby can suffer a brain injury when doctors fail to notice and remove the baby in enough time to prevent the brain injury.
How A Uterine Rupture Can Lead To A Brain Injury In A Baby
Fetal hypoxia, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis in a child. HIE is essentially a reduced level of blood and oxygen, leading to a brain injury. One major concern when a uterine rupture is present is the mother hemorrhaging (bleeding). Not only can hemorrhaging lead to death in the mother, it can reduce the level of blood and oxygen to the baby. Remember, the baby is part of the mother and as so goes mom, this can be the same for baby too in some instances.
As the baby’s blood and oxygen levels drop, injury to the brain can occur. Because childbirth is stressful on the baby too, the baby has mechanisms to help it cope with the stresses of labor, with one of those mechanisms being the baby’s fetal reserves. Even though fetal reserves can help the baby undergo the stresses of labor, the fetal reserves do not last forever. Once the baby’s fetal reserves are depleted, if the baby is not delivered in enough time, devastating injury can occur.
Since an electronic fetal heart monitor is used in almost every hospital in the United States, doctors can ascertain how the baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery. When it seems that the baby is no longer handling the vaginal delivery, doctors must move to help the baby, and this is usually done through an emergency C-Section.
When a uterine rupture causes serious blood loss in mother, the fetal heart monitor may reveal a sudden decrease in the heart rate, or other troubling signs. Doctors must interpret these signs and deploy the proper treatment to help prevent injury to the baby. When doctors fail to act appropriately, injury can occur, usually in the form of a traumatic brain injury.
Did You Have A Uterine Rupture And Now Your Baby Has A Brain Injury?
A uterine rupture is a serious medical condition in the delivery room, as explained above. Mother and baby face serious injury, and death in some cases, if this condition is not managed properly. Therefore, it is important for doctors to properly diagnosis and treat a uterine rupture. If the condition is not properly managed and treated, the risk of injury increases.
Boston Law Group, LLC represents victims of birth injury and medical malpractice throughout Maryland. We can help victims in:
Prince George’s County
Anne Arundel County
St. Mary’s County
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