The average pregnancy length lasts around 38 weeks; post-term is considered a pregnancy that lasts 40 weeks. A pregnancy that lasts longer than 40 weeks results in a greater risk to the baby’s health.
Most physicians will induce labor and deliver the baby when the mother reaches 42 weeks of pregnancy. Because there is a heightened risk to the baby during post-term pregnancy, the mother needs to be evaluated bi-weekly. Testing consists of ultrasound exams to help determine the fetus’s condition and non-stress testing of fetal heart rate.
A significant portion of risk to the baby comes from the fact that the placenta is designed to only last 38 to 40 weeks. The placenta will supply sufficient blood and oxygen supply to the fetus for that duration of time. After 40 weeks, the placenta is less capable of delivering adequate oxygen to the baby. Thus, there is an enhanced risk of hypoxic brain injury to a baby in post-term pregnancy.
Risks associated with post-term pregnancy
- Postmaturity syndrome
- Decreased amniotic fluid, which can cause the umbilical cord to pinch and restrict the flow of oxygen to the fetus
- Meconium in the lungs of the fetus, which can cause severe breathing problems after birth
If your baby has suffered an injury, it could be the result of medical malpractice or negligence. Contact an attorney today to have your case evaluated. CALL US ANYTIME (281) 475-4535 or fill out a consultation form here to start the process.