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Uterine Rupture

Assistance With Injuries to a Mother or Child Due to a Ruptured Uterus - Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney

While childbirth is a normal procedure that occurs in hospitals every day, there are a variety of issues that can occur during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Uterine rupture is one especially serious complication that may result in serious injuries to both a child and a mother.

What Is Uterine Rupture?

In some cases, the tissues in a mother's uterus may tear. This may take place during pregnancy due to stress placed on the uterus, or during labor and delivery. A rupture may occur in the location of a scar from a previous Cesarean delivery, but mothers who have not had a C-section may also experience a ruptured uterus. 

In a uterine rupture, the tear may affect some or all of the layers of the uterus. This rupture may result in placental abruption or compression of the umbilical cord, and any interruptions in the flow of blood to the placenta can lead to asphyxia, brain damage, or fetal death. A uterine rupture can also lead to severe hemorrhaging of blood, which may result in maternal death. In some cases, the tear may be large enough that the baby and other contents of the uterus are expelled into the mother's abdominal cavity.

When a uterine rupture occurs, an emergency Cesarean section should be performed to deliver the child immediately, stop any hemorrhaging, and repair damage to the uterus or other organs. In some cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary.

Causes of Uterine Rupture

There are a variety of reasons why ruptures may occur, including:

  • Distended uterus - The uterus may tear if it becomes stretched during pregnancy. This may occur if a child is larger than average (macrosomia), if there is too much amniotic fluid in the uterus (polyhydramnios), or if there are multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, or more).
  • Malpresentation - If the child is in the breech position or is not positioned to be delivered head-first, a vaginal delivery may result in a uterine rupture.
  • Strong contractions - The use of Pitocin to induce labor can cause contractions that are very intense, lengthy, and frequent, and the stress this places on the uterine muscles may result in torn tissue.
  • Prolonged labor - If the mother is in labor for an extended period of time, this can place a great deal of stress on the uterus, resulting in a rupture.
  • Trauma during delivery - If the child becomes stuck in the birth canal, additional measures may need to be taken to assist in delivery. A uterine rupture may occur if too much force is applied when using tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors.

Uterine ruptures most often occur when vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) is attempted. While a VBAC can be done safely in many cases, doctors should be sure that mothers understand the risks involved, and maternal monitoring and fetal monitoring should be used throughout labor and delivery to ensure the safety of the mother and the child. Medical personnel should respond immediately to any signs of uterine rupture, including abnormal fetal heart rate, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, irregular contractions, or changes in blood pressure.

A uterine rupture can result in severe, life-long injuries to both the child and the mother. The costs involved in providing ongoing medical treatment and addressing disabilities or developmental disorders can be very high. For families who are coping with the aftermath of a serious birth injury, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can help you understand your options for receiving financial help, and we will work with you to determine whether your injury occurred because of medical negligence. Contact us today at 312-945-1300 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.

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