Childbirth can be a stressful time for both mother and baby, and you have a reasonable expectation of receiving professional and competent medical treatment. Medical staff will, in general, provide outstanding care but, unfortunately, a mistake or a birth injury can happen.
Medical negligence can prove to be fatal for mothers and babies, often causing serious and lifelong injuries. A few common examples of birth injuries to mothers can be:
- Wrongly performed episiotomies
- Anaesthetic errors
- Mistakes in suturing fissures or tears
- Pre-eclampsia mismanagement
- Retained Swabs
- Injuries to organs during c-sections
- Failure to recognise organ damage from c-sections
According to the NHS, up to 50% of mothers are affected by some level of pelvic organ prolapse. Childbirth can cause this prolapse, with one or more pelvic organs bulging into the vagina. A long or difficult childbirth and the size of the baby can affect the likelihood of a prolapse.
When the womb prolapses, the uterus slips out of its normal position and falls down into the vaginal canal. Although neither a prolapsed uterus or other pelvic organs aren’t necessarily life-threatening, they can deeply affect the quality of life and wellbeing.
Less serious prolapses can be addressed through things like pelvic floor exercises, however, serious cases may need invasive treatment like a hysterectomy.
This serious complication can happen during pregnancy when the womb, or the uterine wall, tears. The rupture is more common in women who’ve had a previous c-section, with the rupture often occurring at the site of the scar.
A ruptured uterus can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby and, as such, it’s considered a medical emergency. It can cause serious, long-term health damage to mothers and babies and must be treated immediately.
An urgent c-section and uterine repair are essential. Should this not be possible, a hysterectomy is often the second step. Mothers tend to lose a lot of blood, needing a transfusion and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
Third or Fourth-Degree Vaginal Tears
Although vaginal tears tend to happen to the majority of women during childbirth, some are more serious than others and can result in lifelong health issues. The more dangerous tears are third and fourth-degree ones, which can cause severe damage to the sphincter, the lining, and the muscles of the anus.
These can be unpredictable but, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), some risk factors are:
- Induced labour
- Particularly long second stage of labour
- Babies over 8 pounds and 13 ounces (approximately 4kg)
- Assisted delivery, with vacuum or forceps
- Mother’s first vaginal birth
Post-partum Haemorrhage (PPH)
Some blood loss can be normal after childbirth, being heavier in the few days immediately after the baby is born but becoming lighter over time. Some women, however, have abnormally heavy bleeding, called post-partum haemorrhage (PPH). This bleeding can be extremely dangerous, with two main types of PPH potentially occurring:
- Primary or immediate PPH. Heavy bleeding within the first 24 hours after childbirth.
- Secondary or delayed PPH. Heavy bleeding after first 24 hours and up to six weeks after childbirth.
Secondary PPH can be rarer, typically occurring when mothers experience an infection after delivery. Medical professionals should take precautionary steps to reduce the likelihood of PPH. They should also treat it quickly and control the heavy bleeding if PPH does occur.
Making a Birth Injury Compensation Claim
A traumatic birth can be a terrifying experience, and our small list of birth injuries might not apply to your individual situation. Simply talk to us – our team is highly trained and will provide a compassionate service.
We understand that it can be a difficult choice to make a compensation claim, which is why our team is here to help. All contact with us is confidential; there’s never any obligation to start a claim with us, and our No Win, No Fee policy ensures that you won’t be out of pocket should you happen to make a claim and it doesn’t go as planned.
If you’ve been injured when giving birth and you believe it was due to negligence, you may be able to make a compensation claim. Get in touch with our professional team for expert legal advice. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have; you can give us a call on 01772 562084 to request a callback or simply fill in the contact form and we’ll get back to you.