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When you’re in labour, your heart rate fluctuates greatly. The pace and severity of contractions, the stage of labour, and your level of stress and exhaustion all play a role in the significant variation in maternal heart rates. Obstetricians, midwives, and other medical practitioners assisting with a delivery will keep a close eye on these readings as labour progresses to ensure all is well.
As these medical providers monitor the fetal heart rate, they are also looking for this kind of variation – it’s considered reassuring when a baby’s heartbeat accelerates and decelerates within normal ranges. But if the fetal heart rate is abnormally high (more than 160-180 beats per minute), abnormally low (less than 100 bpm), or does not show variation after a certain period of time, it can point to fetal distress.
Abnormal heart rates can indicate possible fetal hypoxia (absence of oxygen) or asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) that can cause permanent brain damage.
Medical providers must follow certain procedures and standards of care to ensure they monitor, recognize and properly respond to potential dangers. If these providers breach standards of care due to negligence and cause serious harm to a pregnant woman, her fetus or her newborn child, it’s called obstetrical malpractice.
When obstetrical malpractice causes or contributes to preventable birth injuries, a matter of moments can change a life forever.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
A preventable birth injury can happen at any point during a pregnancy, during labour and delivery, or in the immediate postpartum period. A medical provider’s negligent actions, inaction or incompetence can lead to these injuries if they: fail to run standard tests or evaluations, improperly analyze results, misdiagnose or delay diagnosis of a medical situation, improperly manage maternal health, exercise poor judgment about how to handle changing conditions during high-risk or low-risk pregnancies, use poor skill or excessive force during delivery, or fail to properly monitor a newborn or mother following birth.
Common birth injuries include:
- Brain damage or conditions such as cerebral palsy from untreated maternal or in utero infection, placental insufficiency (lack of oxygen/nutrients due to cord damage or compression), or perinatal asphyxia
- Spinal cord injuries, nerve damage or fractures from forced extractions (vacuums, forceps), misdiagnosed spina bifida (vertebrae do not enclose around the nerves in the spine), or shoulder dystocia (a situation during delivery where the baby’s shoulders are lodged behind the woman’s pelvic bone that may cause brachial plexus injuries)
- Meconium aspiration – first fecal matter is mixed with amniotic fluid and ingested in the baby’s lungs obstructing airways and leading to potential infection
- Kernicterus – a postpartum condition of severe, untreated jaundice that can cause neurotoxicity
If You’ve Been Hurt, We Can Help
When you learn a loved one has sustained a serious and preventable birth injury, it can take an enormous emotional toll. Moreover, the financial cost of ongoing care, rehabilitation therapy, and lost future earnings can be overwhelming. You should know that you are not alone.
Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers are ready to help you in St. Catharines if you or a loved one has been a victim of obstetrical malpractice. We have developed the expertise needed to navigate this challenging area of law. Our experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled team has been recognized by our peers as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms.
An HSH birth injury lawyer can arrange a meeting with you in your own home in the St. Catharines area or at a nearby consultation office. We believe distance and ability to travel should never deter you from accessing high quality legal representation.
As we listen to the details of your birth story with empathy, we’ll explain your options and offer our advice on how you may want to proceed in making a claim for compensation and damages. With our reputation for client-centred service, you can be confident that you will always be more than a file in our eyes. We will treat you with the compassion, respect and kindness you deserve during this difficult period in your life.
As you journey down the road to recovery, trust an HSH birth injury lawyer to be by your side and on your side in St. Catharines. As your supporter and advocate, together we can work to ensure you have hope that better days are ahead.
Looking to work with a birth injury lawyer in St. Catharines? Contact Us.
We serve the St. Catharines and surrounding areas. When you think Birth Injuries Lawyer St. Catharines, Think Howie, Sacks & Henry.