Common C-Section Birth Injuries

A cesarean delivery (C-section) of a baby is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby via incisions in the uterus and abdomen. It could be planned ahead of time, or it could be a last-minute decision by the doctor.

Sometimes, the doctor considers a C-section delivery safer for the patient or the baby than vaginal delivery. Oftentimes, a C-section is recommended if:

  • Labor is not progression and has stalled
  • The baby is in distress
  • The baby is in an abnormal position
  • There is more than one baby to be delivered
  • There is a problem with the placenta
  • The umbilical cord is prolapsed
  • The mother has a health issue
  • There is a mechanical obstruction to prevent vaginal delivery
  • The mother has had a previous C-section

Risks for the Mother

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with having a C-section. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who have multiple C-sections are at an increased risk of placental problems as well as heavy bleeding, which could require a hysterectomy. Additional risks to the mother include:

  • Infection of the lining of the uterus
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Wound infection in the incision
  • Surgical injury to the bladder or bowel
  • Increased risks during future pregnancies, including placenta previa and placenta accreta, and a risk of uterine rupture if a vaginal birth after C-section is attempted

Risks for the Baby

There are also risks for the baby surrounding a C-section. These common birth injuries associated with C-sections include:

  • Breathing problems, particularly transient tachypnea
  • Surgical injury, including accidental nicks to the skin during surgery
  • Fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blood clots or internal bleeding

Preventable Injuries

Many C-section birthing injuries are preventable. A failure to monitor the situation or a careless mistake could lead to life-sustaining injuries. In some instances, these injuries could be considered negligent if they happen to be caused by a situation similar to the following examples:

  • Delaying the C-section for too long
  • Failing to complete a C-section
  • Failing to identify fetal distress
  • Improper administration of anesthesia
  • Failure to monitor the mother and infant vitals
  • Failure to evaluate for infections
  • Not following hospital procedures for the labor and delivery process

Problematic Symptoms

Sometimes, complications from a C-section delivery do not manifest during the hospital stay but rather appear after the patients have returned home. Some symptoms indicate that they could have been a problem during the C-section delivery. If any symptoms occur that cause concern, a doctor should be immediately contacted. These symptoms include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal drainage
  • Persistent fever


Even if a mother is not planning for a C-section, appropriate measures should be taken in the event that one is needed. A doctor should order the appropriate tests and inform the mother of what could happen in the event that an emergency C-section is warranted.

What to Do if an Injury has been Sustained

The statute of limitations is complex, so the sooner action is taken to obtain compensation, the better. Many resources state that parents have until the baby’s eighth birthday to recover compensation.