You trust your doctor with your life and health. For expecting mothers, that trust also extends to the future and well-being of their unborn baby. Women trust doctors to make decisions that are in their best interest, as well as in the interest of their child. Unfortunately, despite legal requirements and oaths to the contrary, doctors may put their own needs and desires above their patients’ well-being.
A common way this occurs in labor is when doctors decide to speed up the labor and delivery process for no reason. Unnecessary medical interventions are one of the reasons the United States has the worst maternal mortality rate of any developed country.
Women in labor are more likely to die in the United States than in many developed countries. Being your own advocate is important.
Make sure that medical intervention is actually necessary
Unless you are a doctor, chances are you won’t truly understand the medical necessity of various procedures. However, you can educate yourself and your birthing partner about common interventions utilized in pregnancy, as well as common pregnancy complications.
Knowing that information empowers you to advocate for yourself. If you become incapacitated during labor, that information also empowers your birthing partner to advocate on your behalf.
Examples of common interventions performed without true medical necessity include cesarean section, the administration of drugs to speed up labor and the use of forceps in delivery. Each of these procedures carries serious risks to the mother and the unborn child.
The more doctors intervene, the greater the risk to mother and baby
Labor and delivery are natural biological processes. Except in situations with medical complications, most women have everything they need to safely deliver their baby. Unfortunately, labor can last many hours, especially for new mothers.
Doctors assigned to a delivery may find the delay and waiting frustrating. Maybe they have a plane to catch, or perhaps they just want to go home and sleep. Those selfish desires may motivate them to do things that aren’t actually necessary. When doctors intervene in the labor process, it often results in increased risk to a mother.
For example, cesarean sections can save lives. However, they increase the risk of issues such as infection. If a vaginal delivery is possible, a C-section should not be performed unless the child is in distress.
The use of forceps is much less common now than it used to be, in part because the forceps can cause physical damage to a child’s head and face. The administration of certain drugs, especially off-label use of drugs like Cytotec, can also cause a wide range of side effects.
If you or your baby suffered injuries during birth that were the direct result of unnecessary medical interventions, that may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Reviewing your medical records and discussing your case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is an important first step to obtaining the compensation you deserve to offset the damages caused by a birth injury.