By the time you reach your 40th or 41st week of pregnancy, you are probably ready or nearly ready for it to be over. The problem is that your unborn child is already setting your schedule for you and is already not listening to you. After all, your baby’s lungs are functional enough for delivery, and you are full term, so why not get a jump on life outside the womb?
All kidding aside, the longer you remain pregnant past the 41st week, the more dangerous the situation becomes for your baby. A number of complications could put your unborn child’s life in jeopardy, and if your doctor fails to take action within a medically reasonable amount of time, your child is the one who suffers.
What could go wrong?
The longer your child remains in utero, the worse the environment becomes for him or her. Since the placenta’s food and oxygen begin to deplete rapidly, the following serious complications could arise:
- Your baby could have his or her first bowel movement, called meconium, in utero and inhale it, which may result in meconium aspiration syndrome.
- Your baby may not receive enough nutrients due to placental insufficiency.
- Umbilical cord compression could occur.
- Your baby may not receive enough oxygen, called fetal hypoxemia.
- Your baby could develop limb abnormalities, such as hip dysplasia or clubfoot.
- Your baby’s immune cells could drop drastically, which makes him or her more vulnerable to infection.
- Your baby could experience decreased cardiac output, which means not enough blood is pumping through his or her body.
Any of the above could result in your child suffering from a disability or illness. He or she could even be stillborn. For these reasons, your doctor should take steps to get your labor going and deliver your baby as soon as possible after 41 weeks. The “wait and see” approach only puts your child at greater risk of complications as time goes by.
If your child does end up suffering a serious birth injury because your obstetrician failed to take action sooner, it may be possible to hold him or her liable for your child’s injuries. However, medical malpractice claims are notoriously complex, so it would be wise to consult with a Texas attorney experienced in these types of claims.