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Uterine rupture calls for emergency response

Many women today deliver babies by cesarean section. The operation, when performed timely and correctly, can save the lives of mothers and babies who at one time in history would likely not have survived a complicated delivery process.

Should a mother who has had a cesarean section eventually choose to have another child, a vaginal birth after cesarean is not uncommon. Statistics show that the success rate is around 60 to 80 percent for those who attempt a VBAC. However, having had one cesarean section does raise some risk factors, and it calls for a hospital with staff who are trained and ready to deal with certain potential complications.

One major complication is a uterine rupture. This happens when the scar tissue from a previous cesarean section rips open during labor. It requires an emergency cesarean section because it is a potentially life-threatening situation for both the mother and the baby. The mother may also require a hysterectomy, or complete removal of her uterus, if the bleeding cannot otherwise be controlled.

Uterine rupture only occurs in less than 1 percent of mothers, but for those few, it can be devastating. A hysterectomy leaves a mother unable to have children again. The uterine rupture can leave a newborn with a brain injury or other birth injuries; it can even prove fatal.

Survivors may find themselves with questions about why this happened to them -- whether delivery room personnel recognized what was happening and acted quickly enough. An emergency cesarean section is a must in the event of a uterine rupture. A legal professional can help determine whether doctors' negligence in failing to perform a timely cesarean section is something for which they can be held accountable in court through a birth injury case.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "VBAC: Insight from a Mayo Clinic specialist," accessed on Oct. 23, 2015

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