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Birth Injuries Have Been Shown to be Reduced by Proactive Labour Induction Practices

Victor Lewin - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nova Scotia cerebral palsy lawyers help families and children who have cerebral palsy caused by medical malpractice. Unfortunately, doctors, nurses and hospitals do not always provide the parents with the real reasons that cause their child's brain damage and other medical problems.

When a baby is injured prior to birth, during labor and delivery, or after birth due to a medical mistake, it can give rise to a cerebral palsy lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, nurse, or other medical health care professionals and facilities. Often the error lies in not taking active steps to induce labour in a timely fashion.

Studies show that proactive labour induction practices can reduce the risk of birth injuries like cerebral palsy. In 2008 a study was published that focused on uncomplicated pregnancies. The focus of the study was on labour induction practices in women whose gestation had reached 41 to 42 weeks. It was found that inducing labor in women who have reached 41 weeks of pregnancy and who were otherwise low-risk showed the condition of the baby at birth to be favorable.

The goal of birth doctors was to ensure the successful delivery of the baby before 42 weeks of gestation. This was beneficial for the mother and the child. Labor induction is the procedure to stimulate uterine contractions before labor begins on its own. This study, published in the BJOG: NAN International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, suggests that being more proactive in inducing labor, especially in full term pregnancies, improves the outcomes of the newborn.

The study revealed that there was an improvement in prenatal outcomes as a result of a more proactive post-term labor induction practice. This guideline has shown that there was a substantial decrease in the number of stillborn infants at term, 39 weeks of gestation. It was similarly found that risk of maternal death also improved with proactive labour induction. In this study, newborns from 37 weeks of gestation or older were included.

The study looked at hundreds of thousands of births over a thirteen year period and found that induced labor at 37 weeks of gestation increased 9.1% in 2000 to 26% in 2012. This study revealed that, when induced, stillbirths were reduced by half.

In addition, there was a finding of substantial decrease in babies who suffered from asphyxia, neonatal death, newborn macrosomia and other peripheral nerve injuries. Importantly, the study demonstrated that there was a consistent decrease not just in asphyxia, but also cerebral palsy.

According to the Danish study, the risk of neonatal death decreased from 1.9 to 1.0 neonatal death per 1,000 births from 2000 to 2012. The risks of asphyxia also decreased 23%, which also related to the decrease in cerebral palsy by 26% from 2002 to 2010. The risk of a birth weight of more than 4,500 grams (macrosomnia) decreased by 1/3. The risk of peripheral nerve injury decreased by 43%. Shoulder dystocia was reduced by as much as 32% in this study.

In the conclusion, it was found that the results suggest an overall improvement in prenatal outcomes where babies were born at 37 weeks of gestation. Labor induction is simple and inexpensive as far as interventions go. However, induction also demands closer scrutiny during delivery. It was noted that the reduction of cerebral palsy is supported with the decrease in asphyxia. One of the well-known risks of labor induction is if it is ordered before 37 weeks of gestation it could result in premature birth.

The March of Dimes has recommended that induced pregnancy should not occur until the gestation has reached 39 weeks at the earliest. That would be its recommendations unless there was need that was related to medical reasons. Babies born prematurely have more problems than those born full-term or later. The most common ailments of premature infants are immaturity of the respiratory system, principally the lungs.

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