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Is a breech birth evidence of medical malpractice?

No pregnancy is without risk of complications, as many North Carolina expectant parents are already aware. The more complications that present themselves during the pregnancy, the higher the risk of birth injuries to the fetus.

One of the potential problems is a breech pregnancy where the baby fails to descend head-first into the birth canal by the time of delivery. During earlier stages of the pregnancy, it is completely normal for the baby to shift around in the mother's womb as it grows and develops. But by about Week 36 of the pregnancy, the fetus should naturally assume the head-first position. When this fails to occur, it is considered a breech birth and presents several hazards, including:

-- Fetal distress

-- Complicated vaginal delivery

-- Umbilical cord compression

-- Birth defects

Only 3 to 5 percent of single infant births are breech, but the risk rises with twins and other multiple births. Premature babies are often born breech. Other risk factors for breech births are improper levels of amniotic fluid, uterine fibroids, uteri that have abnormal shapes and placenta previa.

Breech presentations can be diagnosed through ultrasounds. Sometimes, midwives and obstetricians can feel through the woman's abdominal wall and detect potential signs of an impending breech birth. They can then order more tests to confirm their diagnoses in time to correct the position of the fetus for a potentially better outcome.

Misdiagnosing breech pregnancies can open the medical professionals up to possible claims of medical malpractice if the fetus suffers injury or dies because of the misdiagnosis. If you or your baby suffered injuries due to medical negligence, it can be devastating. Seeking compensation is one way to attempt to right the scales of justice in your favor.

Source: rightdiagnosis.com, "Breech pregnancy: Introduction," accessed March. 27, 2015

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