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Can a delay in performing a cesarean section (C-section) contribute to a child’s cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be caused by many factors, one of which is lack of oxygen during labor and delivery.  In order to determine oxygen levels, Physicians monitor the baby’s heart rate.  If a doctor sees a slowed or irregular rate they may require an emergency cesarean section.

Delay in requiring a cesarean section when the baby is displaying signs of distress can result in life long birth injuries.

Correlation between a lack of oxygen and harm to fetus

Fetal distress is often associated with hypoxia, which is the reduction or loss of oxygen to the baby. During labor, the medical staff monitors the baby’s heart rate, which is linked to fetal hypoxia.  If there are any drops in the heart rate, doctors and nurses are charged with responding to those changes and making important medical decisions in order to deliver a healthy baby.

There are instances where a delay in performing a cesarean section has led to a baby being born with cerebral palsy and other birth injuries.  If a doctor ignores or does not monitor a baby’s heart rate, there is a greater chance of the baby being in fetal distress during labor and delivery.

Doctors will suggest a cesarean section for many different reasons, the top three being:

  • The mother has had previous children by cesarean section
  • The baby’s health may suffer from a vaginal birth
  • The baby’s heart rate slows or becomes irregular

Evacuating the fetus during episodes of distress

In these instances, most obstetricians will require a cesarean section.  In the case of a slow or irregular heart rate, a doctor can order an emergency C-section in order to prevent unnecessary and life long disabilities such as cerebral palsy and brain damage.

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