Maternal Birth Trauma Cases

Pregnancy and childbirth are usually associated with joy and happiness, when things go wrong due to a medical error the consequences for both the mother and child can be devastating.

Maternal birth trauma arises where the mother is injured physically and/ or psychologically during the pregnancy or birth process.

These injuries are often life-changing and difficult to manage.

Some examples of the more common types of maternal birth trauma complications:

Perineal Tears

A vaginal delivery can result in perineal tearing. The likelihood of tearing is greatly increased with an instrumental birth (forceps or ventouse -suction). Perineal tears can be serious and can lead to severe pain, sexual dysfunction and incontinence of both urine and faeces.

Pelvic Floor Damage

Damage to the pelvic floor is more often associated with vaginal deliveries, particularly those involving bigger babies that required instrumental deliveries. Damage to the pelvic floor can lead to pelvic organ prolapses. Prolapses are very common and over half of all women who have had a child will have some sort of pelvic prolapse. There are different types of pelvic organ prolapses and they all cause different types of symptoms.

For example:

  • a heavy sensation or dragging in the vagina;
  • a lump bulging out of the vagina;
  • sexual dysfunction;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • poor urine stream;
  • retained urine or weak urine stream;
  • recurrent urinary tract infections; and/ or
    difficulty emptying the bowels.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets caught above the mother’s pubic bone. The risk of this occurring is greatly enhanced when the mother suffers from gestational diabetes as this increases the size of the baby. There are risks to both the mother and the baby if this occurs. The baby can sustain nerve damage to the nerves leading to the arm, a fracture or injuries resulting from a lack of oxygen including brain damage or death. The mother is also at risk of tearing, levator avulsion and / or blood loss.

Retained Products of Conception

Retained products of conception occur when part of the placenta and/ or foetal tissue remains in the uterus after miscarriage/ termination or childbirth.

Complications associated with this condition include fever, pelvic pain, uterine tenderness, heavy pelvic bleeding or haemorrhage. It can also cause longer term complications such as Asherman’s syndrome, uterine adhesions, increased vascularity and infertility.

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia can arise in the second half of the pregnancy. It is characterised by high blood pressure and it can cause damage to the liver and kidneys and cause the woman to develop seizures. It is a very serious condition which can be fatal and needs to be proactively managed. The most effective treatment is the delivery of the baby.

Psychiatric Injuries

Traumatic births can be terrifying for the mother and other family members and can lead to ongoing psychiatric and / or psychological injuries that persist once the birth is over. A traumatic birth increases the likelihood of a woman developing post-natal depression.

Legal Claims

Where the birth process results in a maternal birth trauma injury it is sometimes possible to bring a claim in relation to the injuries suffered by the mother or the baby. 

The focus of the legal investigation will be to ascertain whether there anything could have been done which would have allowed the mother to avoid suffering a birth trauma injury.

For example:

Where it can be proved that a failure on the part of the hospital and / or the obstetrician caused or contributed to injuries suffered by the mother and or the baby it may be possible to make a claim for compensation for the injuries suffered.

What can be claimed? 

Financial compensation can be claimed for: pain and suffering, past and future treatment expenses, past and future wage losses, past and future domestic assistance together with legal costs and disbursements.

Time limits

There are time limits which apply to personal injury claims. You should seek legal advice promptly if you have suffered injuries in relation to a cosmetic procedure to ensure that you can access all the compensation to which you are entitled to claim.

Legal Costs

At Remedy Law Group we work on a no win no fees basis, which means that you will only be required to pay our legal costs if we achieve a successful outcome for you and our first consultation is always free.