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VBAC, Medical Malpractice, and Cerebral Palsy

VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) can result in uterine rupture which can lead to serious injury or death of mother and child.  If you suffered a ruptured uterus during a VBAC, or your baby suffered serious injury during a VBAC, medical malpractice may be responsible for those injuries.  This article will tell you what you need to know about VBAC and how VBAC can cause uterine rupture and other serious injury, including cerebral palsy, and death.

What is VBAC?

VBAC is an acronym.  It stands for Vaginal Birth After C-section.  Any vaginal birth after a woman has had a C-section is considered a VBAC.

What are the risks of VBAC?

During a C-section, an incision is made in your uterus in order to open the uterus and deliver your baby.  After delivering your baby, the doctor then closes your uterus with sutures.  A scar then develops along the incision line.  The act of surgically cutting your uterus leaves it weaker and less able to withstand the forces applied to it during labor.  Thus, the primary risk of VBAC is that your uterus will rupture during labor.  If a woman suffers uterine rupture during labor, an emergency C-section must be done within a very short amount of time or the baby can suffer irreparable brain damage, including cerebral palsy, or death.  Uterine rupture also may require hysterectomy to prevent uncontrollable maternal bleeding.

When should you not even attempt VBAC?

If any of the following conditions or circumstances applies to you, you should not even attempt VBAC due to the heightened risk of VBAC-related uterine rupture:

  • You have already had two or more C-sections;
  • Your prior C-Section involved any type of uterine incision other than a low transverse (across your body) incision closed with two layers of sutures;
  • You have had a prior uterine rupture;
  • You are carrying multiples (e.g., twins, triplets, etc.);
  • You are older than 40;
  • You had a C-section less than 18 months prior to your estimated VBAC due date;
  • The hospital where you would deliver VBAC is not equipped to perform emergency C-sections;
  • You are planning on a home birth.

When should you switch over from VBAC to scheduled C-section?

If you are planning on a VBAC and you develop any of the following conditions, you should switch over from VBAC to a scheduled C-section:

  • You develop the same pregnancy-related condition that caused you to undergo prior C-section;
  • You develop a placental abnormality such as placenta previa;
  • You develop preeclampsia or gestational diabetes;
  • You are carrying a larger than normal fetus;
  • You are past your due date;
  • Your baby is in the wrong position inside the womb;
  • Your labor is failing to progress;
  • There is any problem with the position of the umbilical cord;
  • Your unborn baby is not tolerating labor.

How does VBAC lead to cerebral palsy and other serious injuries?

VBAC can lead to uterine rupture.  Uterine rupture can lead to fetal distress, a condition in which the fetus does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen.  If not immediately corrected, fetal distress can lead to brain damage from lack of oxygen to the brain. This brain damage can result in cerebral palsy.

VBAC and medical malpractice

If your doctor gave you different advice that that provided in this article, and you suffered a uterine rupture, or if your baby suffered a serious injury such as brain damage or cerebral palsy, medical malpractice may have been the cause of the injury.  You should contact a law firm with experience handling birth injury cases, such as Berger & Lagnese, to learn whether or not medical malpractice caused your baby's injuries.

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