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Cleveland Birth Injury Attorneys Hold Physicians Accountable

Many doctors do not properly address a baby’s abnormal presentation or position

When a baby is born, its position and presentation are significant factors in the ease of birth. When a baby has an abnormal position or presentation, significant complications may arise if the doctor and medical staff do not react appropriately. At The Eisen Law Firm, our birth injury attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable in the claims that arise from improper treatment of abnormal presentation and position.

What is an abnormal position or presentation?

A baby may take a number of positions during pregnancy. For example, the baby may be face down, with the back of its head against the mother’s pubic bone. This allows for an easier delivery. If the baby is facing up, it is more difficult for the baby to flex its head as it is being delivered. Delivering a baby in this position has been compared to delivering a baby that weighs an entire pound more because it is more difficult to push.

If the baby’s head is sideways, or in a transverse position, the doctor may adjust the baby’s position so that it is facing down. However, sometimes the head is tipped too far towards one shoulder, which can result in significant problems if it isn’t corrected with proper obstetrical maneuvers.

Presentation refers to the part of the baby that will enter the birth canal first. The safest presentation is:

  • Head first
  • Baby is face down
  • The baby’s face and body are angled to the side (either the right or the left)
  • The baby’s neck is bent forward
  • The baby’s chin is tucked in
  • The baby’s arms are folded across its chest

If the baby’s presentation is different, a mother’s labor may be much more difficult. In fact, in some cases of abnormal position or presentation, a vaginal birth may not be possible.

Problems that may arise with abnormal presentations or positions

Occiput posterior presentation:

The baby is face up and head first. This is the most common abnormal presentation or position. In this situation, the baby’s neck may be straight instead of bent. Therefore, the head may require more room to move through the birth canal, and a vacuum, forceps, or even a Caesarean section may be necessary during birth.

Breech presentation: In this position, the baby’s feet or buttocks are positioned to enter the birth canal first. It occurs in 3 to 4 percent of full-term deliveries. In a breech position, the baby is more likely to suffer injuries, and, in extreme cases, death. If a baby in a breech position is delivered vaginally, as opposed to via Caesarean section, the baby is at a heightened risk of death. If a breech position is detected before labor or delivery, complications are far less likely to occur, in part because many babies change positions before entering the birth canal.

Transverse lie: The baby is lying horizontally across the birth canal. In this scenario, the baby will typically be delivered via Caesarean section, unless it moves on its own or can be moved by the delivering obstetrician.

How are abnormal positions and abnormal presentations detected?

As a woman nears the end of her pregnancy, her visits to her doctor will become much more frequent. Visits may increase from once a month, to once every two weeks, to at least once a week or more, depending on the individual nature of the pregnancy.

During these appointments, the doctor will feel the woman’s belly to determine the baby’s position. In most cases, a baby will turn into the proper position and presentation before birth. If the doctor has any concerns about the baby’s position, the doctor may order an ultrasound to get a better look.

Injuries caused by abnormal presentations and positions

If not corrected, abnormal presentations and positions may cause any of the following injuries:

Any number of these complications, in addition to many others that may occur, may result if labor and delivery is attempted while the baby is in an abnormal presentation or position.

Was your baby injured during birth? If so, contact leading Ohio birth injury attorneys for assistance

If your baby was in an abnormal position or presentation shortly before birth and suffered injuries during labor and delivery, contact The Eisen Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your possible claim. To schedule a free consultation, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online.