While a pregnancy following a previous C-section is not generally considered to be a high-risk pregnancy, there are some risks to the health of the mother and the baby, most significantly, the risk of uterine rupture. A uterine rupture is a life-threatening medical emergency and expectant mothers should be aware of the risk during pregnancy and delivery.
What Is a Uterine Rupture?
A uterine rupture is a tear along the wall of the uterus, usually along a previous C-section incision or at the site of other uterine surgery. In a complete rupture, the tear goes through all the layers of the uterine wall, resulting in extreme danger to the mother and baby. Uterine ruptures are fairly rare occurrences, especially for women who have not had previous uterine surgery, but are still a concern for women who have had a C-section in the past and are attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
What Are the Signs of Uterine Rupture?
Uterine ruptures usually occur in the early stages of labor, but they can happen before labor even begins. The initial signs are often overlooked by labor and delivery staff as they focus on other aspects of the delivery. Signs may include:
- Abnormality in the baby’s heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Mother’s rapid pulse
- Signs of shock
- Chest pain
- Slowing or stopping of labor
Doctors and nurses attending to women attempting a VBAC should be watching for these symptoms of a uterine rupture and a C-section should be performed immediately if a uterine rupture is suspected.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Women who have had one previous C-section with a low-transverse uterine incision are considered good candidates for VBACs as the risk of uterine rupture is believed to be less than one percent. However, women who have had multiple previous C-sections, or who had a vertical uterine incision, have a much higher chance of a uterine rupture during a VBAC. If your doctor did not advise you of the risks or did not react quickly enough during your labor and you suffer a uterine rupture, you may have a case for medical malpractice.
Our Attorneys Know What to Do Next
The experienced medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys at Holton Law understand that you have already been through a tough time. We know that the decision to pursue a medical malpractice claim is not an easy one. We will be with you every step of the way to make sure are comfortable with the process and that you and your baby get the settlement you deserve.