Post Term Pregnancy
Babies risk a number of traumatic physical and mental injuries when they remain in the womb beyond their natural due dates. In most cases, physicians need to induce labor by 40 or 41 weeks to avoid the severe risks associated with post term pregnancies. Failure to do so may result in severe and permanent injury to the baby.
Whether you’re seeking legal help for a child who has suffered lasting injuries from post-date pregnancy or for a different birth injury, the renowned lawyers at Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys can assist you. Call our Michigan cerebral palsy lawyers toll-free at (888) 592-1857 or complete this contact form for a FREE evaluation of your child’s cerebral palsy or birth injury case.
What is a Post Term Pregnancy?
Post term (also known as postdate or prolonged) pregnancies are those that have reached 42 or more gestational weeks, which is two weeks beyond what is considered normal. However, some pregnancies are considered post term earlier than 42 weeks because of incorrectly forecasted due dates.
What Injuries Are Associated with Post Term Pregnancy?
- Postmaturity Syndrome: Deterioration of the placenta causes chronic stress, trauma, and hypoxia in babies, and they are born with a unique appearance, including overgrown fingernails and hair, a long body with little fat, and dry, wrinkled skin. Roughly 20% of post-date pregnancies develop postmaturity syndrome. The following disorders are associated with the condition:
- Uteroplacental Insufficiency: This condition is characterized by reduced function of the placenta. After 37 weeks the placenta begins to deteriorate and only limited amounts of oxygen and blood reach the baby. When the placenta is unable to supply sufficient oxygen, hypoxic ischemic injury and cerebral palsy are possible.
- Fetal Distress (Nonreassuring Fetal Assessment): There is a higher risk of fetal distress in post-term pregnancies because cord compression is likelier to occur, so it is crucial for physicians to closely monitor fetal distress signals.
- Hypoglycemia: Because the placenta less effectively supplies nutrients in a prolonged pregnancy, postmature babies may develop low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) after they exhaust their own supplies of stored fat and carbohydrates.
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (Asphyxiation): Fetal stress and post date gestational age may induce a dangerous bowel movement in utero and meconium staining may occur. Inhaling this newly tainted amniotic fluid may cause trauma to the baby’s airway, infection, limited lung expansion, HIE, or cerebral palsy.
- Oligohydramnios: Oligohydramnios is an unexpected decrease in the amount of amniotic fluid. Because amniotic fluid is crucial to lung maturation, growth, and body temperature, a baby risks trauma like cord compression and cerebral palsy when fluid levels diminish.
- Umbilical Cord Compression: Babies need to float in amniotic fluid, so when oligohydramnios occurs the baby’s movements no longer have fluid protection and can interfere with the umbilical cord. Cord compression can limit oxygen, blood flow, and nutrients in the baby.
- Macrosomia: The large size of post-term babies make vaginal delivery difficult, prompting the need for delivery assistance tools that can cause brain damage (i.e. vacuum extractors or forceps). Furthermore, large infant size increases the possibilities of shoulder dystocia and cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD).
How Can Post Term Pregnancy Injuries Be Prevented?
In most cases, physicians should consider labor induction around 40 gestational weeks to avoid most of the injuries associated with post term pregnancy. Additionally, open dialogue between the physician and mother about the potential for an emergency or a planned C-section should occur. Failure to induce may cause the serious injuries above resulting in lifelong disabilities to the child.
Michigan Lawyers Representing Children with Cerebral Palsy from Post Term Pregnancy Injuries
As recognized leaders in the field of birth injury law, our renowned Michigan cerebral palsy attorneys have represented a variety of families affected by birth injury, post term pregnancy, and cerebral palsy. In the past 25 years our birth trauma lawyers have accumulated a track record of successful multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements from across the nation. Whether your child’s cerebral palsy resulted from complications of a post term pregnancy or from another labor and delivery injury, contact us today for a free consultation–you may fill out this contact form online or reach us by phone at (888) 592-1857.