When A C-section Is Necessary (& When It’s Not)

Every woman wants an easy pregnancy. To enjoy her baby bump, daydream about her little one, and to have a smooth delivery. Complications are the last thing a mother wants to think about. 

Whether delivery is vaginal or via C-section, bringing a child into the world is an intense process. Doctors and midwives are wonderful and without their expertise, mortality stats would skyrocket. But every once in a while a healthcare professional makes a decision that’s more harmful than it is good.

In this week’s blog we’ll discuss some scenarios you should watch out for, and what you can do if you or your baby have experienced a birth injury.

When C-Sections Are Necessary

There are times when a C-section is absolutely necessary and is the only option for saving lives. Medical staff are highly trained and should understand which instances warrant an emergency surgery. Red flags include fetal distress, an irregular heartbeat, a tangled umbilical cord, and dangerous bleeding among other scary situations. 

In some cases, C-sections are even scheduled in advance. If the mother has certain health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension it may be safer to deliver the baby via C-section. Here’s a few more instances where a C-section may be the safest option:

►Problems with the placenta

►Delivery of multiples (twins, triplets, and more)

►The presence of a dangerous birth defect

►A baby that is too large or is in an unfavorable birth position

Whether a C-section is a last minute decision or scheduled ahead of time, your doctor is ultimately responsible for making the right choices and explaining things to you. Failing to act quickly can result in harmful injuries and in the very worst scenario, death.

A man wearing scrubs holds a newborn baby in his hands and is about to weigh her on a scale.

When C-sections Are Unnecessary

Sometimes C-sections occur when they’re not medically necessary. But why?

Every once in a while, a mother will elect to have a C-section for personal reasons such as fear of delivery or a busy schedule. That’s not generally the case though. The main culprit for unnecessary C-sections is long labor. Here’s what Neel Shah, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, had to say about it:

“When it comes to cost, on average C-sections are reimbursed at 50 percent more than vaginal deliveries in the US. Eighty percent of the cost of labor and delivery is staffing, and C-sections generally require a small staff working for fewer hours. So it’s not the additional money the doctor makes. A vaginal delivery, from a resource point of view, just costs more.”

There you have it. When a mother has a long labor and delivers vaginally, it costs the hospital more. More money and more time. Women are sometimes pressured into having a procedure they don’t want to because of a lack of patience. If your doctor is throwing in the towel because they want to go to the ball game, that’s a problem. Especially if their decision impacts you and your child in a harmful way.

What Complications Can Arise?

Most of us are so familiar with term “C-section” that we forget it’s actually a major surgical procedure. Incisions are made through the abdomen wall and uterus to deliver the baby. You’ll likely have a 4-6 inch scar, will be in the hospital for a few days, and will need to take it easy for a couple of months. And that’s if everything goes smoothly.

In the event of a medical malpractice error, or simply an unforeseen circumstance you may experience any one of the following:

►Lacerations to other organs 

►Need for an emergency hysterectomy

►Higher risk of blood clots

►Too much blood loss

►Infection at the wound site

If your physician made a risky call and harmed you or your baby, there are things you can do about it. In fact, you should probably consider legal action.

A woman stares out the window as she sits in a chair with her knees cradles against her chest.

Botched C-sections: How To Take Legal Action

Even the most trusted professionals make mistakes under pressure but that’s still no excuse for medical negligence. Mothers and babies deserve the safest method of delivery and care. Performing a risky and unnecessary C-section can endanger everyone and make a doctor liable for malpractice. It may be difficult to prove that your doctor suggested a C-section when it wasn’t necessary, but if you experienced a birth injury, you may want to fight back.

Factors like payment or time of day shouldn’t influence a baby’s birth. If an injury affected you or your child, you should contact a birth injury lawyer right away. It’s important to learn what legal rights you may have and how to move forward.  

Keep Your Baby Healthy | National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Much like a new year, learning that you’re pregnant is a time full of wonder and excitement. 

A baby, despite their small size, changes almost everything. There’s a lot that goes into preparing for your little one, but really the #1 concern for most parents is how to keep their baby healthy.

You may not have known it, but January is actually National Birth Defects Prevention Month. What a great time of year to reflect on some practical tips that can help keep you and your baby healthy throughout pregnancy and delivery. Knowledge is power, so keep reading to learn more!

A pregnant woman holds her baby bump in the shape of a heart.

Prevent Birth Defects & Keep Your Baby Healthy

Each year, around 120,000 babies are born with a birth defect. To give you more perspective, this means that 1 in every 33 babies is born with an abnormality.  That’s a lot. Birth defects affect a child’s health and can alter their physicality, intellect, and development. Thankfully the CDC has many helpful recommendations that help prevent birth defects.

Here’s a few steps you should take once you learn you’re pregnant:

► Since you just received the good news, there’s no better time than now to select your doctor and schedule an appointment. Your doctor should be able to answer all of your questions and they’ll also see you for checkups throughout your pregnancy.

► It’s really important to steer clear of substances like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, avoid them before trying to conceive. None of these substances are safe for your baby. 

► Check with your doctor about the prescription medications you currently take. Professional counsel can help discern whether certain medications are safe or not. Some medications actually cause birth defects, so due diligence is vital.

► It’s also recommended that you get your flu and Tdap vaccinations during each pregnancy to help prevent illness. Not all vaccinations are safe to receive during pregnancy, so always consult with your doctor first.

Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a difficult time in a woman’s life. With so many changes happening all at once it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t forget to take time for yourself…prop those feet up and relax. Why? Because you deserve it, simple as that.

To keep you and your baby healthy, keep these tips in mind:

►According to the CDC, “Most women need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day to help prevent birth defects. Women who might have pregnancies at high risk for certain birth defects should talk to their doctor about the right amount of folic acid for them.” Folic acid is a B-vitamin found in multivitamins and foods like breads and breakfast cereals.

►Consult with your doctor if you’re traveling abroad. According to the CDC, “Pregnant women can generally travel safely with a little preparation. But they should avoid some destinations, including those with Zika and malaria risk.” (Many diseases, including Zika and malaria, can cause birth defects and learning disabilities.)

►Prepare raw food items with great care, wash your hands during the cooking process, and avoid being around people that are sick. Infections can travel to the baby and cause birth defects.

Keeping a healthy diet and getting your recommended amount of exercise will keep you on the right track to a successful pregnancy. Be sure to visit the CDC’s website where you can read many more tips on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. 

A woman lathers soap in her hands underneath a faucet.

Avoiding (& Identifying) Malpractice

So we’ve discussed a number of ways to protect your baby before birth, but how do you protect your baby during birth?  Unfortunately medical errors and negligence are very real and prevalent problems. Conditions like cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy sometimes happen because of a careless mistake. 

Sadly, mistakes like these are usually unavoidable. But here’s some tips that can be helpful in a medical setting:

► Have a family member or friend there with you. Beyond the emotional support they can provide, their presence helps keep the medical staff accountable. When you’re under an anesthetic or incapacitated, a friend can help ensure you receive prompt and thorough care. An extra set of ears and eyes is almost always a good thing.

► Unfortunately not all doctors have good bedside manner. If your doctor says something that’s confusing or you don’t understand, ask them to clarify. You deserve to know exactly what’s going on, treatments that are taking place, and what to expect during the process. Being aware can help you avoid malpractice in some cases, and identify it in others. 

► Doctors make mistakes, so stay attentive to anything that feels off. If you need to, ask for a second opinion. Don’t worry about hurting your physicians feelings, you and your baby’s health are far too important.

► Stay in tune with your body. Be aware of symptoms, changes, and effects in you or your child’s health. Communicate these with your doctor to make sure they’re paying attention to your needs and are providing the care you deserve. Take note when they’re not, both for prevention and worst case, future legal action.

► Again, staying aware and in the loop helps prevent malpractice, so don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions, and even take notes if something seems off.

January, National Birth Defects Prevention Month, is a great time of year to both refresh your personal knowledge, and to promote awareness in your community. Together, we can help decrease the likelihood of birth defects and keep moms and babies healthier!

What are a Houston OB/GYN’s Responsibilities?

 

Obstetrician showing a pregnant woman her ultrasound.When a woman is pregnant, they need to go to a doctor who specializes in
obstetrics and gynecology. These are often referred to as OB/GYNs. These
doctors understand everything about pregnancy, labor, and delivery so
the mother has a knowledgeable professional on her side who can put her
mind at ease during this process. There are a number of things OB/GYNs
must do to provide the service a pregnant woman needs. Here are some of
their responsibilities.
Continue reading What are a Houston OB/GYN’s Responsibilities?

Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps & Vacuum Extractors

 

A hand wearing blue surgical gloves holding forceps.If a mother struggles during delivery, the doctor may use certain tools
to help. Two of these tools are forceps and vacuum extractors. Forceps
are used to help assist the birthing process when the mother is unable
to push the baby out. The forceps are usually placed around the head of
the baby. The vacuum extractor is a soft or hard cup that may be placed
on the top and back of the baby’s head. It provides a suction that
can help assist to pull the baby out.
Continue reading Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps & Vacuum Extractors

Obesity, C-Sections May Be Behind Rising Maternal Mortality Rate

 

Most people probably think of the United States as having one of the best
healthcare systems in the world. Indeed, here in Houston and throughout
the state of Texas and beyond, expecting mothers often receive top-notch
medical care. It is rare that pregnancy-related injuries occur in the
medical setting, but when they do, families can find themselves in devastating
situations.
Continue reading Obesity, C-Sections May Be Behind Rising Maternal Mortality Rate

Potential Eligibility Concerns for Aspiring Texas Nurses

 

The dream of becoming a nurse will someday become reality for many men
and women in Texas. Nurses contribute significantly to the state’s
healthcare system, particularly in labor and obstetrics but throughout
the field as well. While most nurses are skilled, compassionate and uphold
the standards of their important profession, as with every type of job
there are sometimes those who are careless or irresponsible.
Continue reading Potential Eligibility Concerns for Aspiring Texas Nurses