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Forced early delivery may result in birth injury or illness

New York City mothers should understand that intentionally causing an early delivery may potentially harm babies. These babies may not be fully developed yet and are, therefore, more likely to suffer birth injury or illness.

Despite recommendations that delivery and induced labor before 39 weeks of gestation should be avoided, in approximately 10 to 15 percent of cases, mothers give birth early to babies without having any medical reason.

In one case, a mother who was scheduled for a Caesarean section at 38 weeks' gestation had to keep her baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 13 days. After the birth, one of the baby's lungs collapsed as they were not yet fully developed. Studies say that delivery by induced labor or through C-section before 39 weeks without a medical cause considerably increases the risk of complications and newborn deaths.

Some government and non-government health insurance providers are now trying to discourage the practice of early delivery by hospitals without a justifiable reason. Such insurers will need to pay a large amount for NICU care of infants born early. Subsequent medical expenses may also include having to treat jaundice, feeding problems or other developmental issues resulting from early birth.

It is common for doctors in a solo practice or in rural areas to prefer to schedule an early delivery for their professional convenience. However, it is alleged by medical professionals that push-back from mothers plays a vital role in early delivery by obstetricians and medical staff. However, such allegations are not valid as mothers are generally unaware of the dangerous consequences of early delivery. Fatal infections, developmental delays and other serious outcomes to the babies may occur in such cases.

It is the professional responsibility of doctors and hospitals to do their best to ensure that no harm is caused to the newborn. They should take all necessary precautions to make certain that the C-section and induced labor will be as safe as possible for both the mother and the child. Through the use of sophisticated technology, doctors should ensure that the baby is delivered at the appropriate time.

If it is discovered that a baby suffers injury or illness due to negligence or the recklessness of doctors or medical staff, the doctors and hospitals can be held responsible. These medical personnel may face a malpractice suit and could be required to pay compensation to the aggrieved parents.

Source: Med City News, "Insurers to moms and docs: Don't rush the babies," Phil Galewitz, Jan. 21, 2013

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