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Delivery of premature babies in breech or transverse lie

Going through childbirth is a physically traumatic experience. As such, there is always some level of risk involved to both the mother and the baby. However, those risks are exacerbated when there are additional factors at play - such as preterm labor and unusual fetus position.

There is a very serious and well-known danger that premature babies in utero who are a breech position (lying vertically, feet first) or transverse position (lying sideways) may experience severe and life-threatening injuries if delivered vaginally. Therefore, the standard of care requires that they be delivered by cesarean section.

Diagnosing active labor

It is common for a fetus at preterm gestational age to be lying in a breech position. If delivery becomes necessary at this stage, your doctor should have a plan to perform delivery by cesarean section.

One critical aspect in the execution of this plan is for hospital staff to promptly identify when the mother goes into active labor. This is done through a pelvic exam. If the medical staff fail to do this in a timely manner, and the diagnosis of the active stage of labor is delayed, the baby's head could become entrapped. This could result in serious damage to the baby, including skull fractures, intracranial bleeding or even death.


Patient safety requires meticulous attention to details. Planning is only part of the equation. Common-sense follow up and execution of the plan is also necessary to avoid injury and death.

Mistakes by hospital staff lead to preventable and tragic losses of human life. If you have suffered a loss due to medical negligence, it's important to understand your rights in holding the hospital accountable. Seeking justice can represent one important step in the healing process.

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