Face Presentation and Birth Injury in Michigan
Healthcare workers in Michigan have the legal responsibility to make sure that their patients are looked after properly. That is, even more, the case with vulnerable patients like newborns. If any of the health workers assigned to a birthing case suspects that there might be something amiss, it is imperative that they pull all stops to prevent birth injuries and other associated health risks.
In this article, we discuss face presentation and some birth injuries that can occur when this presentation is not managed correctly.
What is Face Presentation?
Babies are commonly in a vertex presentation during delivery. In this type of presentation, the baby’s head is flexed down, and the chin is tucked into the baby’s chest. This position is the safest way for babies to go out during labor, and around 97% of babies are delivered in this manner.
However, there are cases when the babies switch their presentation during labor. Face presentation is one of such cases.
In face presentation, the baby’s head is hyperextended backwards, with the head tilting to reach the upper back. It’s a rare case that occurs in 1 out of 600-800 births in the United States. Before delivery, health workers should make sure that they check the presentation first and see if they should do alternative delivery methods to prevent birth injuries.
What Causes Face Presentation?
Numerous factors affect the baby’s presentation before birth. Here are some of the most common causes that lead to face presentation:
- Multiple Gestations
If the mother is carrying more than one fetus at a time, then the risk of having a child in the face presentation is higher.
- Grand Multiparity
It refers to women who have previously given birth multiple times, usually at least four or more times. For these mothers, there’s a higher risk that their child will be in face presentation during birth.
- Multiple Nuchal Cords
Should the umbilical cord wrap itself around the baby’s neck multiple times, it can bend the head and cause face presentation.
- Low Birth Weight and Prematurity
If the child is due for premature delivery and is underweight, there’s a higher chance that the baby would be face presentation.
- Pelvis Size
If the mother’s pelvis size is abnormally small, or if there’s a size incompatibility between the baby and the size of the mother’s pelvis, it can lead to face presentation.
If the baby is larger than the average for its gestational age, then the space issue in the mother’s womb can lead to face presentation.
During the first or second stage of labor, doctors should be able to detect if the child is currently in face presentation. As soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor and other assigned health workers should inform the mother and the family and present the available delivery options. More often than not, most families choose C-section as the safest route when challenged with face presentation during delivery.
What Complications Can Arise Due to Mismanaged Face Presentation Delivery?
It is the duty of doctors and other associated health workers to check if the baby is in the proper vertex presentation before delivery. If the doctor fails to check or diagnose the face presentation of a baby even with a lengthy labor time, then they may be held accountable for the birth defects that can come after delivery.
Here are some of the major complications that could arise if a child’s face presentation is not handled properly during delivery:
- Spinal Cord Injury
Failure to properly deal with face presentation can lead to a spinal cord injury—making a child vulnerable to paralysis.
- Facial Edema
It can lead to a fluid build-up in the face.
- Skull Molding
The excessive pressure on the baby’s head can lead to abnormal head shape.
- Respiratory Issues
The combination of edema and trauma in the upper airway can limit the baby’s ability to inhale and exhale.
- Abnormal Fetal Heart Rate Pattern
Stress caused by the delivery of babies with face presentation can also cause abnormal fetal heart rate patterns.
These are just some of the most common birth injuries that could arise if a child in face presentation is not delivered properly. In extreme cases, a mismanaged delivery can even lead to fetal death.
How to Legally Deal with Birth Injuries Caused by Face Presentation
Being able to diagnose and deal with face presentation is one of the most critical duties of a doctor. A doctor who was negligent in his or her duty, can be held liable for damages and may even be sentenced to imprisonment, depending on the degree of culpability.
If your child is currently experiencing birth injuries due to the doctor’s or health worker’s delivery mismanagement, contact The Clark Law Office now. We have experience in dealing with birth injury cases in Michigan, and we will readily help your family get the compensation and justice you deserve.