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Uterine Rupture

What Is Uterine Rupture?

Uterine rupture is an uncommon but potentially serious complication that can happen at any time throughout pregnancy. It most often occurs during labor. A uterine rupture occurs when there is a tear in the uterus. A “complete” uterine rupture happens when the tear goes through all of the layers of the uterus. Uterine rupture occurs in less than 1% of pregnancies, but when it does happen, it can be very dangerous for both mother and baby.

Complications of Uterine Rupture

When a uterine rupture occurs, the mother may experience severe bleeding and a dangerous drop in blood pressure. When the mother’s blood pressure drops, the baby receives reduced blood flow, which also reduces the amount of oxygen to the baby.

In addition, the baby may be at risk for being pushed out of the uterus through the tear. If this happens, the baby’s umbilical cord may bend or be compressed, which can also reduce or completely cut off the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby.

When a complete rupture occurs, the baby must be delivered quickly to avoid injury from the lack of oxygen. The baby may be at risk for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE may lead to infant brain damage and permanent conditions such as cerebral palsy. It may also lead to fetal death. Fetal death occurs in about 6% of uterine ruptures.

In most cases, once a uterine rupture is identified, the mother will undergo an emergency C-section to deliver the baby. In some cases, the mother will have to undergo a hysterectomy to control the bleeding following a uterine rupture.

What Are Uterine Rupture Risk Factors?

In the majority of uterine rupture cases, the tear occurs along the scar from a previous cesarean section (C-section) delivery or surgery on the uterus (such as fibroid surgery).  Women attempting a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), also commonly known as vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), are at the highest risk for uterine rupture.  The risk of uterine rupture increases with the number of prior cesarean sections. Other factors that increase the risk of a uterine rupture include:

  • Use of Pitocin/oxytocin
  • A large baby (macrosomia)
  • Pregnancy beyond the scheduled due date
  • Having had a C-section performed within the prior 24 months
  • Several previous pregnancies
  • Maternal age greater than 30
  • Twin pregnancy

The risk of uterine rupture is significantly increased if the mother has had a previous C-section with a vertical (up-and-down or “classical”) incision.  If you have had a previous C-section, it is important that you and your doctor are aware of the type of incision that was performed on your uterus, not just on your skin.  TOLAC/VBAC is not recommended for patients with a “classical” incision from a previous C-section.

Contact Our Nationwide Birth Injury Lawyers

If you suffered a uterine rupture during your baby’s delivery and you or your baby sustained an injury, please contact us at (877) 262-9767. We can help you understand your potential legal options during a free consultation. We handle cases nationwide and have offices conveniently located in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Wilmington and Birmingham.

The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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