As your pregnancy due date approaches, your baby’s position should naturally move to a head-down position, allowing for an easier birth. However, if the baby fails to reposition itself with the head down, it may instead be in a “breech” position with its feet or buttocks positioned to exit the birth canal first. On average, this occurs in about 3 out of every 100 natural births and can lead to serious complications for both the baby and the mother.
If your baby has suffered injuries due to a breech birth, call the Baltimore breech birth malpractice attorneys at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Call (410) 431-0911 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your right to sue after you or your baby suffered medical negligence.
What is a Breech Presentation Birth?
Normally, about three or four weeks before your due date, your baby will naturally position itself in the “vertex” presentation. The baby’s head will be in a downward position. This allows for an easier delivery, as the head will stretch the cervix enough to allow the rest of the baby’s body to safely pass through the birth canal.
If the baby fails to position itself in this manner, the baby is in a “breech” presentation. While many breech position babies are born safe and healthy, there is an increased risk of injury during birth because of the feet or buttocks exiting the birth canal first.
There are commonly four types of breech birth positions:
A complete breech occurs when a baby’s buttocks are in a downward position while its legs are folded around its knees.
A frank breech occurs when a baby’s buttocks are in a downward position its legs by its head.
A footling breech occurs when one or both of the baby’s feet are down by the birth canal.
A kneeling breech occurs when a baby’s feet are bent back so one or both knees come out first.
A doctor can examine your abdomen to try and determine your baby’s position. If there is a belief that the baby is in a breech position, your doctor may order an ultrasound to verify the baby’s position. In some cases, a doctor may order a C-section to avoid complications with a natural birth.
Complications and Injuries Caused by a Breech Birth
Complications and injuries during delivery can be a direct result of the baby’s breech position or the doctor’s conduct and decisions during the delivery.
In the vertex presentation, the baby’s head will stretch your cervix, allowing the safe delivery of the rest of the baby’s body. During a breech birth, the baby’s feet or buttocks might not stretch the cervix enough to ensure the rest of the body passes through safely. Under these circumstances, the baby’s head or shoulders may become stuck in the birth canal, possibly breaking bones or causing other serious injuries.
Another common complication of breech birth is umbilical cord prolapse. The umbilical cord becomes compressed as it slips down before delivery. This compression can deprive the baby of blood and oxygen. Failing to deliver the baby immediately can result in brain damage or death from the lack of oxygen.
Entrapment of the baby’s head inside the birth canal can be a huge problem during a breech birth. Freeing the baby can result in spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, or damage to the baby’s skull or brain.
Oxygen deprivation may occur from either cord prolapse or prolonged compression of the cord if the head is lodged in the birth canal. Severe lack of oxygen can also cause neurological damage, such as cerebral palsy.
After discovering a breech position, a doctor may attempt to reposition the baby. Known as “external version,” this procedure requires the doctor to manually turn the baby inside the womb. This physical manipulation of the baby can be severely painful for you and cause harm to the baby, so it is not always possible or recommended.
Many of these potential injuries lead to serious developmental or mental complications. A baby could face a lifetime of physical and mental challenges and disabilities, such as learning difficulties and permanent loss of muscle coordination. These birth injuries can also lead to years of financial challenges for the family, such as physical and occupational therapy bills, additional education expenses, and other medical care costs.
Types of Damages for Baltimore Breech Birth Injury Lawsuits
Under Maryland law, the damages available will depend on the facts of the case. However, you will generally be entitled to receive compensation for reasonable personal expenses and all medical expenses related to the breech birth injury. For example, travel expenses for hospital visits or doctor’s appointments, the cost of special medical equipment, or bills for ongoing medical care may be claimed as damages in a lawsuit. Additionally, compensation for any loss of income is available if your child’s condition is ongoing and will cause future loss of income.
Noneconomic damages are also available for a breech birth injury. Your child may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering or emotional distress in Baltimore.
Call a Baltimore Breech Birth Malpractice Attorney for a Free Case Consultation
Breech births are not uncommon. Many babies are delivered safely from a breech position, but complications or injuries from the breech birth might entitle you and your family to financial compensation. Contact our Baltimore breech birth malpractice attorney to determine if you have a valid malpractice claim. Call the Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 431-0911 if you or your baby has suffered physical or emotional harm due to a breech birth.