Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
What is Vaginal Birth After Cesarean?
Vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) is when a baby is delivered vaginally after the mother has previously delivered a baby by Cesarean section. When a mother has a C-section delivery, there is a scar where the incision was made in the uterus to deliver the baby. A scarred uterus is weaker and, therefore, there is a risk that the scarred uterus could tear open during labor as a result of the force of the uterine contractions. This is called "uterine rupture" or "uterine dehiscence."
When the uterus ruptures, the blood flow to the baby can be disrupted, and the amount of oxygen in the blood going to the baby is reduced below normal levels. This lack of oxygen may cause serious and permanent damage to the baby’s brain and other vital organs. Uterine rupture and decreased blood flow can also kill the baby.
Hospitals, doctors, and nurses must be aware of the dangers that a VBAC delivery poses to the mother and her child, including the potential for uterine rupture and injury to the baby.
Uterine Rupture and Cytotec (Misoprostol)
Another potential contributing cause of uterine rupture is the drug Cytotec (misoprostol). Cytotec is a drug used to treat gastrointestinal issues. Many hospitals and doctors utilize Cytotec in an “off-label” use to induce labor, because misoprostal causes the cervix to ripen and thin.
Cytotec causes the uterus to contract and may cause contractions that are too frequent or are too forceful. Contractions that are too frequent and forceful can cause uterine rupture, particularly in VBAC deliveries because the uterus is weakened by the uterine scar.
Fortunately, uterine ruptures are not common for mothers who have not previously had a C-section. Because the risk is greater in VBAC deliveries, medical providers must be very careful to monitor for signs and symptoms of uterine rupture. The baby’s heart rate must be continuously monitored for any abnormalities that may suggest the baby is not receiving enough oxygen from the mother. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, signs of shock, rapid pulse, etc.
When a woman experiences uterine rupture during labor or delivery, it could kill or seriously injure the baby and the mother. If you or a loved one has suffered this type of serious injury during labor, it may be in your best interest to get more information about your legal rights and options. You may have a potential medical malpractice claim if the doctor or healthcare provider:
- Used powerful drugs such as Cytotec or Cervidil for off-label purposes
- Gave Cytotec to a mother in labor who had a C-section before (VBAC)
- Failed to provide continuous fetal monitoring
- Failed to recognize the early signs of uterine rupture
Hospitals and medical providers who have caused harm to patients through an act of malpractice can be held accountable for damages that the patient and the baby suffer as a result, including medical bills, future medical and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
Call Birth Injury Lawyer Laura Brown at (214) 974-4121 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.