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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Every expectant mother hopes that her delivery will go as smoothly as possible. However, complications during the birthing process sometimes necessitate the use of special procedures and equipment that may present a risk to the baby. Vacuum extraction or vacuum-assisted delivery is a procedure used during a vaginal delivery when a baby needs help traveling through the birth canal. A device called a vacuum extractor creates suction on the baby’s head and allows the doctor to gently pull the infant out while the mother pushes. Although vacuum extraction is a common procedure, it is also associated with an increased risk of serious, sometimes life-threatening birth injuries.

Why Is a Vacuum Extractor Used During Labor and Delivery?

If labor is not progressing normally, a vacuum extractor may be used to encourage the baby through the birth canal. Vacuum extraction is often used when a mother experiences ruptured membranes or trouble pushing the baby out. Atypical heart rate indicating infant distress may also prompt an obstetrician to use vacuum extraction. This procedure is typically not recommended if a woman is less than 34 weeks pregnant, the infant suffers from certain health conditions such as hemophilia or osteogenesis imperfecta, the baby is in a breech position, or if the baby’s head is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis.

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Illinois birth injury attorney Gastroschisis

Despite the remarkable medical advances that have taken place in recent decades, birth injuries continue to be an unfortunate reality in the United States. While some birth injuries are easily remedied and do not result in lasting damage to the infant, others result in lifelong complications or even infant death. Gastroschisis is a congenital birth defect in which an infant’s intestines protrude through his or her abdominal wall. Surgery is necessary to correct the abnormality, but unfortunately, surgery is not always enough to prevent the infant from suffering major health complications or even death.

The Causes of Gastroschisis Still Largely Unknown

Gastroschisis occurs when the abdominal wall of a growing fetus does not develop properly and a 1- to 2-inch opening in the abdominal wall forms. This allows the fetus’s intestines to extend outside of its body. The intestines are then exposed to the amniotic fluid and may become inflamed, twisted, or shortened. In complex cases, other internal organs may also protrude through the abdominal opening. Since the 1980s, more and more babies have been born with gastroschisis. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the incidence of gastroschisis nearly doubled between 1995 and 2005. Younger mothers and mothers who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with gastroschisis; however, the exact cause of the defect is still unknown.

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Chicago birth injury lawyerA baby’s transition from the womb into the outside world is a critical moment. If complications arise during the birthing process, the baby can suffer injuries that affect him or her for the rest of his or her life. One common complication that can lead to serious medical conditions is a breech birth. Babies should be born head first. However, in 3-4 percent of births, the baby is not positioned in the correct way. Breech presentation increases the risk of serious birth injuries and even infant death in some cases.

Causes of Breech Presentation During Birth

A baby is in a breech presentation if he or she is positioned in such a way that his or her buttocks or feet will enter the birth canal first. Breech presentations are more common when certain risk factors are present. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Giving birth to multiples, such as twins or triplets

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Chicago birth injury lawyerAnticipating the birth of a new child is often one of the most exciting times in a mother’s life. Unfortunately, many mothers have seen their joy turn to fear after experiencing an unexpected complication during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. One complication that can be especially dangerous to the health of the baby and the mother is a maternal infection. If a pregnant woman develops an infection and it is not treated properly, the pathogens may be passed on to the developing baby. Newborns can also develop an infection from bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that are present in the hospital delivery room.

Some Maternal Infections Can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

Although minor maternal infections, such as a common cold, may not pose a major risk to the baby, other infections can be life-threatening. Infections that can be especially dangerous to an infant include:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): Most people experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their life. Typically, these infections are easily treated with antibiotics and do not cause any long-term damage. However, if a pregnant mother develops a UTI and it is not treated properly, the infection can cause premature birth, sepsis, preeclampsia, and low birth weight.

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Illinois medical negligence attorney

cesarean section, or “C-section” for short, refers to a surgical procedure during which an infant is born via an incision in the woman’s abdomen. An emergency C-section typically occurs when a mother planned to give birth vaginally, but unexpected complications make a C-section the safer choice. Doctors and medical staff are trained to recognize signs of fetal or maternal distress that may indicate a C-section is needed. In some cases, a physician’s failure to perform a necessary C-section may lead to serious birth injuries and even fetal or maternal death.

Medical Complications That Can Lead to an Emergency C-Section

Just under one-third of U.S. mothers who gave birth to a child in 2017 did so via cesarean delivery. Choosing to deliver a baby naturally or undergo a C-section is a very personal decision for expectant mothers. Many women understandably have strong feelings about whether or not they want their baby delivered surgically. Unfortunately, some expectant mothers do not have the birth experience they had hoped for because unexpected medical complications arise. A cesarean section is typically considered to be a riskier delivery method than vaginal birth. However, when a mother and her baby are in danger, this may be the best way to prevent birth injuries or fetal death. Some medical issues that may require an unplanned C-section include:

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