Insufficient levels of oxygen to the fetus (hypoxia)
One of the most serious complications includes a lack of sufficient oxygen flow to the child. This is caused by the umbilical cord wrapping around the neck or a limb. In some cases, a knot may occur on the umbilical cord. If the doctor does not quickly deliver the baby, its brain can be damaged permanently. Insufficient levels of oxygen can be separated into three phases. The least serious type is called hypoxemia, followed by hypoxia and the most serious type, asphyxia. In a wide number of cases, even such complicated childbirths end well.
Umbilical cord prolapse
This complication occurs along with the outflow of amniotic fluid or when the placental bed detaches itself. In such cases, blood flows out and not into the placenta. An obstetrician must carry out an acute cesarean section. The flow of the amniotic fluid takes the placenta with it into the vagina, resulting in blood no longer flowing towards the fetus. If this occurs at a maternity hospital, the doctor is able to save the baby by carrying out the acute c-section. When the water breaks, the pregnant woman should immediately arrive to the hospital to prevent any further complications.
Further serious complications include various types of head trauma or shoulder distocia. In the latter case, the shoulders get lodged in the pelvis bone and the mother is unable to deliver the child. As a result, the collarbone can break or the shoulder joints can be damaged. Shoulder distocia often occurs in cases where the babies are too large. Doctors try to prevent this prior to birth by identifying any potential cases. Complications are often related to the age of the mother, obesity or diabetes during pregnancy. During this particular complication, the baby’s head is partially born, but it is not possible to proceed smoothly because of the shoulders. Those are trapped in the mother’s pelvis and the baby’s cheeks turn blue due to a lack of oxygen.
Incorrect womb activity during childbirth
As a result of weak contractions due to which the birth canal does not open sufficiently, the doctor has to end vaginal birth and carry out a cesarean section. During childbirth, the birth mechanism may malfunction resulting in the first and second birth stages taking a long time. As a result of this, the mother may not have enough energy and power to push the baby out. The obstetrician can use a vacuum extractor or forceps. In the Czech Republic, this tool is used only with 2-3% of all births which is a very low number. In the UK for comparison, this occurs in 15% of all births. The vacuum extractor bell is attached to the baby’s head. The exerted pressure allows for the baby to be born. There is a big difference between using forceps or the vacuum extractor with regards to any blood supply defects. In cases where any oxygen supply defect occurs, the extractor cannot be used. In cases of insufficient oxygen levels, the doctor will often have to complete childbirth by carrying out a cesarean section during the second birth stage.
Septic and hemorrhagic shock during childbirth
As a result of increased blood loss, the mother can enter into a hemorrhagic shock during childbirth. During the birth, circulation of blood worsens resulting in hypotonic effects on tissues. Septic shocks are caused by toxins and microbes in the bloodstream.
Higher-risk groups of women
Whether the delivery will be complicated or not is not possible to predict accurately. Higher-risk groups include women younger than 17 and older than 35 years old. However, falling in-between this age range does not mean that older women will automatically experience complications or that women between the ages of 25 to 30 will have a problem-free delivery. Childbirth is affected by multiple factors which include smoking, the weight of the women and height below 150cm. Women who gave birth to 4 or more children or have undergone gynecological surgery are under greater risk as well. Further, family medical history which includes diabetes or high blood pressure may also be contributing factors. Complications can also occur with obese women or those suffering from diabetes during pregnancy.
Reasons for childbirth by cesarean section
An obstetrician can opt for a cesarean section during a vaginal birth in case unforeseen complications occur, ending the natural birth process to prevent endangering the mother and her baby. Planned cesarean section births are expected for mothers who have been diagnosed with placenta praevia or have encountered multiple pregnancies. In addition, it is used cases when the fetus is located low in the pelvic region, transversely or is simply too large and likely to be lodged in the pelvis. Further it is also carried out when the mother has genital herpes or an obstacle in the birth canal preventing natural birth.
What is the Apgar score?
Following birth, each doctor will evaluate the health of a newborn, resulting in points to determine the Apgar score. This provides a total summary of 5 values: the heartbeat, breathing, muscle tension, reaction to stimuli and skin color. Each value can be ranked from 0 to 2 points, with the maximum total of points being 10. If childbirth is free from complications and the baby is healthy, Apgar scores between 8 and 10 are expected. If a baby receives a score of between 5 to 7 points following birth, it requires increased attention from doctors. Children in direct danger of not surviving are rated from 0 to 4 points on the scale. In case complications occur, it is essential that the baby is delivered as quickly as possible in order to avoid endangering the baby’s life.
Are you afraid of giving birth? Would you like to ensure that you receive maximum care and support? We provide our patients with the Materna I, Materna II and Lady Program options which ensure appropriate medical care during pregnancy and upon delivery. Please contact us by dialing (+420) 235 360 133 in order to book an appointment and to find out more about our superior medical care.