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Key Decision-Making and Medical Negligence with Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Delivery

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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section (VBAC) Lawyers in NJ

Even though you have had a cesarean birth, you have options for your next delivery. You can have another cesarean birth, or you can deliver vaginally. A vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, or VBAC, is the choice of many who wish to avoid surgery and a lengthy recovery. However, it is not the same medical procedure as a vaginal birth without a prior cesarean delivery. So, when planning a VBAC, you must understand the risks and rewards.

TOLAC: Trial Labor after C-Section

Knowing that you had a prior cesarean birth, your obstetrician may allow you a trial of labor after cesarean delivery, or TOLAC, which means they will allow you to try and deliver your baby vaginally. However, you will have another cesarean delivery if you are unable to birth your child vaginally, which may be due to several reasons. The hope is that you can deliver vaginally to enjoy the benefits.

Potential Advantages of VBAC

One benefit of a VBAC is it avoids another stomach surgery, which can involve a long, painful recovery and hospital stay. Additionally, your abdominal surgery may prevent you from carrying your newborn and moving around to bathe, diaper, and feed the new arrival. Also, you can avoid the infection risk that comes with all surgeries. An invasive procedure exposes open wounds to bacterial and viral infections.

While women bleed when they deliver a baby, they do less so with a VBAC. They also avoid risky health issues resulting from multiple cesareans, such as bladder problems, hysterectomy, bowel injury, and placenta dysfunction occurring in subsequent pregnancies. Considering future pregnancies, you may want to try VBAC to avoid placental and other problems if you are a strong candidate.

Possible Complications from Vaginal Delivery After Cesarean

The experience of a vaginal birth may appeal to you, especially if you have not had one yet, you must understand the risks of VBAC, including infection, blood loss, and a ruptured uterus due to the belly scar. A ruptured uterus may cause fetal death and health damage to the mother, including the removal of the uterus and the possibility of more children. However, the likelihood of a rupture depends on the type of incision the doctor made for your cesarean section birth.

Significance of the Incision Type in a Prior C-Section

You may have one of three types of incisions and resulting scars. The first is the low transverse incision. It is a horizontal cut to the lower uterus, most chosen to safeguard against rupture for future births. The second type is the low vertical cut, which runs up and down in the lower uterus. The risk of rupture is higher with this incision. Finally, the high vertical, which is both horizontal and vertical, is the riskiest for future uterine rupture. You are probably not a candidate for VBAC with the latter two incision types.

Thus, you want to know which type of incision you had with your previous cesarean to see if you can have a VBAC or need a cesarean to prevent a potential rupture. A partial or complete uterine rupture at the incision site due to the enormous pressure of labor and birth can cause the fetus to suffer oxygen deprivation and resulting brain damage. And since a uterine incision is not visible, your medical records hold the information you need to avoid a potential tragedy or at least to prepare yourself for a possible cesarean birth.

Labor Changes that may Impact Delivery Options

Preparation is critical to a successful birth and delivery, even if that means changing plans. You may go into a VBAC with an idea of what you want to happen and how it should go, but being flexible is best to deal with unknown factors. For example, a cesarean section may occur due to the slow labor progress, requiring Pitocin to strengthen contractions but causing fetal distress. And even if you plan a cesarean section, you may end up with a VBAC with early onset labor. The baby may not wait for your scheduled surgery date.

You must be able to count on a skilled obstetrician to respond accordingly to unexpected situations, as birth and VBAC, especially, can be unpredictable. An experienced doctor knows what can go wrong and how to respond. For example, a doctor may induce labor when a pregnancy continues too long after the term for the safety of the mother and baby. The baby growing too large can cause delivery difficulties that endanger lives.

Induced labor may reduce the chances of a VBAC due to strong contractions, but it may be best for the overall outcome. Assessing the progress of an attempted VBAC may shift plans in the delivery room. Plans may also shift during the pregnancy as potential complications occur that would prevent a VBAC option, such as placental abnormalities or the mother’s preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.

Doctors Must Choose the Right Approach and Adapt to Changing Delivery Plans

You and your healthcare team may be planning a VBAC, but not before clearing the way for it. Your physician should know that you are not able to have a VBAC if you suffered uterine damage from a previous rupture or surgery. Your doctor should also check to see how many c-sections are in your medical history and the date of your last delivery. Too many c-sections, delivery within the previous 18 months, and health issues with the pregnancy, such as multiple fetuses or breech fetal position, are not favorable to a successful VBAC.

A sensible physician would not perform a VBAC due to patient history and current health problems, such as preeclampsia or obesity. The odds are also against a pregnant woman over 40 or with a large baby to deliver vaginally after a c-section. A competent physician would recommend a VBAC only after a thorough understanding of medical history, including the type of incision the patient had, a physical exam, a wait-and-see vigilance as the pregnancy progresses, and fully informed consent from the patient.

Examples of Medical Malpractice with VBAC

A physician who allows a high-risk pregnancy to try VBAC without a complete understanding of the pregnancy and the patient’s history, and a discussion of the risks with them, may be liable for injuries resulting from their negligence. A doctor who is unaware of the patient’s medical history may be found negligent when they allow a VBAC to occur even when the patient has had previous vaginal deliveries. The physician must balance the risks and rewards, the dangers and positive signs, to recommend a TOLAC or not. And they must know when it is time to abandon a VBAC for a c-section, which is sooner than non-VBACs.

Also, a VBAC attempt requires careful and continuous monitoring of the fetal response to labor so the physician can perform a timely c-section if necessary. And when the physician is not in a facility that can accommodate a VBAC attempt, for example, a birthing center without the equipment or staff to constantly monitor the fetus, handle a uterine rupture, or perform an emergency c-section, they should refer the pregnant woman to another facility. Failure to do so may be considered medical malpractice and thus, grounds for a lawsuit.

Birth Injuries Resulting from Vaginal Births after C-Sections

A baby born via a botched VBAC may develop cerebral palsy, HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy), brain damage, or tragically, may be a stillbirth. The mother may suffer infection, maternal hemorrhaging, or permanent reproductive organ damage after a uterine rupture. These conditions may cause lifetime suffering and care needs. When your physician should not have allowed a VBAC and injuries resulted for you or your baby, you may be eligible to obtain the financial support you need for your and your baby’s injuries and losses.

Contact New Jersey VBAC Malpractice Attorneys for Assistance with Your Case

If a mishandled vaginal birth after cesarean delivery caused harm to your baby or yourself, trust our team of New Jersey birth malpractice attorneys to help recover your financial and emotional damages due to medical malpractice. We have vast knowledge and VBAC birth injury experience, providing keener insight into how doctors should evaluate patients before proceeding. We fully understand how doctors arrive at their decisions and when they veer from accepted practices in this medical practice area, since we work with leading medical experts on these cases on a regular basis. It is our aim to comprehensively assess your VBAC case, determine possible medical negligence that occurred, and use our skills in the law to help right the wrongs you and your family have suffered. Call us today at 866-708-8617 or reach out to us online to request a free consultation and review of your case.

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