During pregnancy, the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid within a membrane called the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac often ruptures during labor (“water breaking”), though sometimes it can rupture beforehand. When this occurs early, it is called PROM – Premature Rupture Of Membranes. Most women will go into labor on their own within 24 hours of their water breaking, but some may not (MedlinePlus.Gov).
When PROM occurs, a doctor can choose to either wait or immediately start an induction. This decision depends on many factors including how far along in the pregnancy a patient is, but there is an increased risk for infection the longer the wait between PROM and delivery.
One group of researchers looked into the relationship between PROM and cerebral palsy (CP). Since a longer interval between PROM and delivery increases the risk for perinatal infection, and cerebral palsy is associated with severe perinatal infection, they wanted to look for an association between the two (Mynarek et al 2020). Using the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN) and the Cerebral Palsy Register of Norway they looked at over 60,000 births in which there was either an immediate induction or a prolonged induction.
The results show that there is in increase in CP in the group in which there was 24 hours between PROM and delivery. “We found that a prolonged interval was associated with a 60% excess risk for CP” (Mynarek et al 2020). They speculate that a long interval before delivery may increase the vulnerability of the fetus' brain by inflammation or infection, which could lead to hypoxic-ischemic injury.
The authors are careful to note that they also saw a decrease in infant mortality with a longer time between PROM and delivery, and that the 60% increased risk of CP “must be weighed against the very low absolute risk of CP” (Mynarek et al 2020).
If you believe a doctor’s error caused your child to develop cerebral palsy, either before or during delivery, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation, and the legal team of Holton Law Firm wants to help. Contact us today by calling 888-443-4387 and schedule your consultation to speak with an attorney about your situation.