Contractions are vital to the birth of a baby. They cause the cervix to dilate, while helping the baby descend into the birth canal for a safe delivery. Pitocin, the synthetic drug that simulates the natural hormone oxytocin, is often used to artificially induce labor by causing and strengthening contractions. However, a common side effect that most women getting induced are unaware of is excessive uterine activity that can harm the baby.
Contractions cause the interruption of utero-placental blood flow, so when there is excessive uterine activity, or contractions that are too frequent, too long, too strong, or too close together, there is a major decrease in oxygen flow to the baby. If the excessive uterine activity is not resolved, the baby's oxygen levels are depleted and can cause asphyxia, permanent brain damage, and/or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). All of these brain injuries have lifetime consequences for the baby's development. Cerebral palsy is also a potential outcome of the damaging effects of oxytocin, stemming from HIE brain damage.
There are different classifications of excessive uterine activity :
More than 5 contractions in 10 minutes, averaged over a 30 minute period
Contractions lasting 2 minutes or more
Contractions of normal duration occurring within 1 minute of each other
Baseline uterine pressure between contractions is too high (over 25 mmHg)
Uterine pressure with contractions is too strong (over 90 mmHg)
When excessive uterine activity occurs, the fetal heart rate can be compromised with the loss of oxygen. If healthcare providers do not intervene in a timely manner, irreversible damage can be done to the baby. Have you or a loved one experienced adverse events during the birth of a baby causing permanent injuries? Do you wonder if your baby's brain damage or cerebral palsy could have been avoided? Reach out to Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP. There is no cost to speak to someone about your case. Permanent injuries during birth can cause immense pain and suffering, have lifelong effects, and can be extremely costly to care for. While no amount of money can repair the damage done and relieve that family's pain, monetary compensation from a lawsuit may help cover the costs of care and improve outcomes. Statutes of limitation place a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs, so don't wait to contact the attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP.