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Birth Injury

How Do Doctors Know It’s Time for a C-section?

Medical science is a wonderful thing. It keeps marching on, giving us new ways to keep mothers and babies safe during childbirth. The electronic fetal heart monitor is one such tool that hospitals use to measure a baby’s vital statistics during labor.

And if the heart monitor strip shows an abnormal heart rate…it’s probably time for medical intervention.

In this video, birth injury attorney Laura Brown stresses the need for medical providers to pay attention to the fetal heart monitor, and when a C-section is necessary to prevent birth injury to a baby.

In almost every labor and delivery department in the country these days, they use an electronic fetal heart monitor, which is a device looks kind of like a computer with the screen, and it attaches through leads to the mother’s stomach. So there are electrodes placed on a mother’s stomach, “leads,” that detect the baby’s heart rate and also monitor the contractions of the mother’s uterus. During labor, doctors and nurses should be trained and should monitor the baby’s heart rate to watch for signs that the baby maybe in trouble.

The labor process can continue only so long as it is safe for the baby to remain inside – if there are things that are happening to the baby that cause the baby not have enough oxygen it may be necessary for the baby to be delivered quickly in a C-section – Cesarean section – where there’s a surgical procedure to remove the baby.

Doctors and nurses should be trained and hospitals should have policies and procedures and protocols, for monitoring of the baby’s heart rate and the contractions on the fetal heart monitor strip. If you have a child who has suffered an injury during labor and delivery and you are wondering whether or not there had been signs on the monitor that would have alerted doctors and nurses to a potential problem, we would be happy to look at the medical records for you; to review the fetal heart monitor strips and see if there were indications that your child should have been delivered urgently or more quickly with a Cesarean delivery.