What are the most common types of medical negligence that occur during labor and delivery?

The most common mistake occurs when the doctor or anyone on the medical team fails to respond to unexpected circumstances or signs of trouble during birth. For example, doctors or care providers might not react appropriately if the baby is larger than anticipated, if the baby shifts positions unexpectedly, or if other complications develop, such as:

  • Bleeding, distress or oxygen deprivation of the mother or infant.
  • Compression of the umbilical cord.
  • The umbilical cord becoming trapped.
  • An excessively long labor.
  • A breech baby (the bottom is facing the birth canal instead of the head).
  • Fetal distress.
  • Excessive water retention by the mother.
  • Shoulder dystocia (the baby’s shoulder is caught behind the pubic bone).

Other potential examples of medical negligence include a delay in deciding to perform a necessary C-section, misuse of the vacuum extractor or forceps, and inadequate prenatal care.