Under ideal circumstances, a woman will go into labor when her baby and her body tell her she is ready. However, in some situations, labor may need to be induced prior to the time when it would begin naturally.
Induced labor involves using medical devices or medication to prepare the cervix for labor and to prompt contractions of the uterus. Induced labor can save lives when used properly. Unfortunately, doctors are sometimes negligent in their decision to induce labor. This puts the mother and baby at risk.
Labor should be induced if the body fails to start the process of labor. For example, labor may be induced if:
When making the decision to induce labor, your doctor will first assess the Bishop score. The Bishop score refers to how ready your cervix is for labor. A Bishop score is set on a scale of 1-13 and takes into account cervical dilation (how open the cervix is), the position of the cervix, the position of the baby and the softness and consistency of the cervix.
Your doctor may then begin by stripping the membranes in the cervix. While this doesn’t typically induce labor on its own, this step is often necessary to soften the cervix. It involves the doctor using a finger to separate a part of the amniotic sac from your uterus. When the amniotic sac is pulled partially away, the body releases the prostaglandin hormone to soften the cervix.
Your doctor may also perform other necessary steps toward inducing labor including:
When labor is induced, a mother may be able to deliver vaginally if the labor progresses normally. However, a Caesarean section may be required in some cases, especially if the amniotic sac is broken but labor doesn’t progress. According to Time Magazine, mothers whose labor was induced were more than twice as likely to have a C-section. When Pitocin is administered, it can also result in more painful contractions, necessitating an epidural even in a mother committed to natural childbirth.
Induced labor can be the right choice when medically necessary to protect the health of the mother or child. In other cases, however, labor may be induced despite the absence of a legitimate medical reason. For example, a doctor may induce labor:
In any situation where a doctor induces labor with no legitimate medical reason to do so, the doctor can be considered negligent. A doctor is negligent and liable for malpractice if no reasonable physician in his/her position would have made the same decision on induction.
Induced labor has many risks, including:
Complications can potentially be considered the fault of the doctor who induced labor if the problems can be directly tied to physician negligence.
If your doctor negligently induced labor, your doctor may be liable for medical malpractice. A Chicago induced labor lawyer can help you to take legal action.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we have extensive experience with birth injury claims, including cases involving unnecessary induction. To learn how our Illinois induced labor attorneys can help, call our toll-free number today or contact us using our online form. We can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You will not pay for our legal services unless we obtain compensation for you and your family.