Three common labor and delivery complications

When you’re expecting a child, you hope everything goes right with your pregnancy, labor and delivery. Even if your pregnancy goes well, you may encounter problems when it comes time to give birth.

Your hospital and your doctor or midwife should be ready to deal with any complications that arise. Here are some common labor and delivery issues and descriptions of what your medical team should do to prevent and treat them. 

1. Prolonged labor

If your labor lasts longer than it should, this is known as a failure to progress. Sometimes, all that is necessary is to just wait and relax. However, if your labor is failing to progress during later stages, you may need immediate medical intervention. Your health professionals may recommend a cesarean delivery or labor-inducing medications. If you do not receive prompt and adequate treatment, you and your baby may develop serious complications.

2. Perinatal asphyxia

If a baby does not breathe properly before, during or after birth, he or she may suffer from perinatal asphyxia. This is a condition that occurs because of insufficient oxygen. This can cause low oxygen levels, high levels of blood acidity, organ malfunctions, cardiovascular issues and developmental complications. Common treatments for this condition include providing the mother with oxygen, performing a cesarean delivery and providing medication or mechanical breathing after delivery.

3. Non-reassuring fetal status

If concerns crop up regarding the health of your baby during the late stages of your pregnancy, it may be because of non-reassuring fetal status, previously known as fetal distress. Indications of this problem include:

  • Low amniotic fluid levels
  • Issues with movement and muscle tone
  • Irregular heartbeat

Inadequate oxygen levels, hypertension or anemia can cause these problems. Health providers may need to maintain proper oxygenation, increase maternal hydration or perform amnioinfusion. 

The responsibilities of medical professionals

Your health care professionals should be trustworthy and effective in preventing, diagnosing and treating any problems that arise. If they fail to do this, they may be liable for negligence.

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