During the birthing process, complications can arise. Mothers, fathers, other family members, and medical staff should be aware of any pain or conditions that do not seem normal when a baby is about to be born.
Some labor and delivery complications can be resolved with medication or cesarean section (C-section) delivery. If not treated properly, complications can cause birth injuries.
Non-progressing labor, early water break, abnormal bleeding, umbilical cord issues, limited oxygen in the uterus, malposition, placenta previa, and cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) are complications that can occur during labor and delivery. Any sign of these complications should receive immediate medical attention
The natural progression of labor involves cervical dilation and periodical contractions. As delivery approaches, the cervix dilates more and contractions strengthen.
If labor is not progressing properly, the cervix may not dilate too slowly, and contractions can weaken. Slow labor progression may not cause complications during the latent phase of labor, but can have severe consequences in the active phase of labor.
Water breaking usually signifies the start of labor. If a mother’s water breaks well before their due date, or the water breaks early and labor does not start, it can lead to infection, umbilical cord issues, or premature delivery.
Excessive blood loss is one of the top causes of maternal death. Any unusual bleeding during pregnancy should be immediately addressed by a doctor.
An infant’s umbilical cord can wrap around their limbs or neck during delivery. Other umbilical cord complications include umbilical cord compression, and incidents in which the umbilical cord comes out of the vagina before the baby does.
During the birthing process, a baby may not receive enough oxygen. This is known as perinatal asphyxia, and can occur during any stage of birth. The baby may require supplemental oxygen or medication post-delivery to recover from perinatal asphyxia.
A common delivery complication is situations in which the baby is not properly positioned for a successful delivery. This can cause harm to the baby or the mother. The best birthing position is when the infant’s head is facing downward. If the baby is incorrectly positioned, a doctor can reposition the baby, or may perform a C-section for easier delivery.
Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta covers the opening of the cervix. A sign of placenta previa is painless bleeding late in pregnancy. Again, any unusual bleeding should be addressed my medical staff. If a doctor identifies placenta previa in a mother, they will most likely perform a C-section.
If, during delivery, the baby’s head is too big to fit through the pelvis, a doctor should perform a C-section. This is known as cephalopelvic disproportion, and can occur if a baby is large, the mother’s pelvis is small, or if the baby is not positioned correctly.
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