What is Uterine Rupture?

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Expectant mothers hope for easy pregnancies that are free from major complications. They want to have a safe labor and a delivery that ensure their child is born healthy. Unfortunately, there are several complications that can arise during a delivery. One of those complications is a uterine rupture. In many cases, these incidents are caused by medical malpractice. When that happens, victims and their families need to know if they are eligible for compensation.

Uterine ruptures can be devastating

The uterus is the organ of a woman’s body that holds the baby during the pregnancy. You will hear the uterus referred to as the “womb.” This is the muscular organ that contracts during the delivery process to force the baby through the birth canal during a vaginal delivery.

Inside of the uterus, along with the baby, is the placenta. The placenta is created by the mother’s body during pregnancy and delivers nutrients to the baby.

A uterine rupture occurs when there is a tear or rupture of the uterine wall. This can be through some or all of the uterine tissue layers. A ruptured uterine can lead to severe bleeding and jeopardize the life of a mother and her baby.

  • Bleeding from a uterine rupture can put both lives at risk.
  • A uterine rupture can lead to fetal distress and abnormal fetal heartbeat.
  • A uterine rupture can cause a baby to be forced out of the mother’s uterus and into the abdominal cavity.

A uterus tear or rupture can cause a baby to be deprived of blood and oxygen flows from the mother, leading to birth asphyxia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and cerebral palsy.

Who is most at risk of a uterine rupture?

Women who have had a prior cesarean section (C-section) and are attempting a vaginal birth are more at risk of uterine rupture. This is called a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The scar on the woman’s uterus from the previous C-section can tear or rupture. This could lead to the baby, placenta, or umbilical cord to stick out of the uterus, leading to a lack of blood and oxygen flow to the baby.

There are also drugs that can be used to induce labor, such as Cytotec (misoprostol) and Pitocin.

Cytotec is approved to treat ulcers but can be placed inside a woman’s body next to the cervix to cause the cervix to soften, open, or thin, creating conditions for pregnancy. This drug has been associated with a significant number of uterine ruptures in VBAC deliveries.

Pitocin is a drug used to induce labor and is a synthetic drug meant to mimic the naturally occurring hormone, oxytocin. When given improperly by healthcare professionals, it can cause contractions to become too strong or happen too frequently, leading to increased risk of uterine rupture.

Who is responsible for a uterine rupture?

In many cases, uterine ruptures happen, and it is nobody’s fault. However, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals should always be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of uterine rupture. Failing to notice these signs and symptoms can lead to dangerous conditions for a mother and her baby. Medical professionals must also properly use labor-inducing drugs. When they are used, both mother and baby must be closely monitored for signs of distress.