Jump to Navigation

Inducing Labor May Lead to Complications and Birth Injuries

All an expecting mother wants is a healthy baby born without complications. But unfortunately not all pregnancies go smoothly. Birth complications and birth injuries may occur during labor. The risk of a birth injury increases in pregnancies that involve a potential risk factor such as a large baby, high blood pressure or induced labor.

Unintended Consequences Stem From Inducing Labor

Inducing labor has become a growing trend to reduce some of the health risks associated with full-term births. Some studies have shown that inducing labor can lower birth weight and decrease the likelihood of birth complications and injuries.

According to Dr. Michel Boulvain of the University Hospitals of Geneva, babies that are estimated to be in the 95th percentile or above for weight are up to three times less likely to sustain birth injuries when labor is induced. The rationale is that the risk of neonatal trauma to the baby increases the longer the pregnancy is continued.

However, research has increasingly shown that inducing labor is too often done for convenience, not for a medical reason such as a large baby or known pregnancy complication. Pitocin, a synthetic form of the drug Oxytocin, is generally used to induce labor. Pitocin stimulates contractions, but it can also result in extra contractions of the uterine muscles that can cause significant and permanent problems for the baby.

A large number of labor inductions necessitate a cesarean section, which turns a typical baby delivery situation into an unexpected major surgery. Additionally, cesarean section procedures can result in extra bleeding, infection and longer healing periods for the mother.

Birth Injuries Can Occur During Labor Induction

In general, births that are intentionally premature from labor induction are much more likely to result in complications and birth injuries for the baby. The most common birth injuries that stem from labor induction include shoulder dystocia, facial paralysis, brachial plexus injury, reduced oxygen to the brain and even death.

The last few weeks of pregnancy can be important for the development of a baby's vital organs, including the lungs, brain and liver as well as the eyes and ears. Prematurely inducing labor can increase the risk of birth defects and other unintended consequences.

A number of medical quality advocates have become concerned about the amount of baby deliveries that are induced before full term. Most notably, the March of Dimes has rolled out a "Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait" campaign calling for babies to reach at least 39 weeks of pregnancy before birth.

Many people simply do not understand that inducing birth before 39 weeks is unwise unless there is a legitimate medical need for it. It's important to consult with your doctor about both the risks and benefits of inducing labor before you make a decision. To learn more about your legal rights after a birth injury, speak with a knowledgeable birth injury attorney today.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

En Español
SL&W | Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman | Attorneys At Law | Have Your Case Reviewed by our Legal and Medical Team Download Our Brochure | Coping with a Birth Injury

Ask Us a Question?

Contact us toll free at: 215-227-2727 or
contact us by using the free case review form below:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy