Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Epidurals may lead to birth injuries

Pittsburgh expectant mothers should be aware of the dangers of epidurals during childbirth. It appears that there are frequent side effects concerning the epidural analgesia provided while a mother is in labor. These epidurals at times lead to a spike in a woman's body temperature and can lead to birth injury for the child.

Fevers following epidurals can be related to poor muscle tone, breathing difficulties, poor APGAR scores (appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration observations at birth) and seizures. The higher the mother's temperature during labor, the more likely the newborn child is to develop these symptoms. As many as 19 percent of women taking epidurals had fevers above 100.4 degrees while only 2.4 percent of women had a fever without epidurals.

Proving up birth injuries related to these types of procedures will be complex. Yet if parents are not provided information concerning risks than such birth-related injuries will occur. When such injuries do occur, parents will likely require the assistance of a lawyer experienced in the medical malpractice and birth injury areas.

There was almost three times the chance that the baby would require resuscitation at birth when a mother experienced such a fever. Fortunately, women who didn't develop fevers following epidurals were likely to deliver babies without any significant health problems.

Approximately 20 percent of children of mothers taking epidurals experienced an adverse outcome at birth in hospitals. This should place physicians on notice concerning the risks of providing such injections. And since the risks are high, medical providers need to provide parents all necessary information to assess the risks.

Source: U.S. News, "Epidural Plus Fever in Mom May Raise Risks for Baby," by Jennifer Goodwin, Feb. 3, 2012

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