When a mum is told she is carrying a breech baby, or a baby who will likely be born feet first, she naturally worries if delivery will be smooth. After all, babies born headfirst are indeed more common. A mum-to-be normally tries to ease her worries by talking to her doctor or researching common breech newborn death causes.
But no amount of research can ever prepare a mum for losing a child, and in one of the most horrific ways possible.
According to The Guardian, a 30-year-old mum in Dundee, Scotland was subjected to extreme malpractice during delivery.
The mum, only named as Patient A, was carrying a premature infant in breech position. She should have been told that a caesarean section was her safest option for delivery. However, reports say her doctorallegedly urged her to deliver normally.
Breech Newborn Death Causes: Reports Say Gynaecologist Forced the Mum to Deliver
Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, a 41-year-old consultant gynaecologist, reportedly instructed the mum to push while she tugged at the unborn baby’s legs. The baby had a prolapsed cord, a common danger. Because the baby was fragile and pre-term, the force detached the legs, arms, and torso from its head.
More disturbing still are reports that say the mum was in pre-labour. Her water had just broke and she was just three centimetres dilated when the doctor attempted to deliver the baby.
The safest route when it comes to breech babies is still delivering them via emergency C-section. | Image source: Shutterstock
Later reports say the baby had a slow heartbeat, but was alive when it happened. Charles Garside, a lawyer for the General Medical Council, stressed that Dr. Laxman made “the wrong choice.” He emphasises that doctors “should never use vaginal delivery in that situation.”
The traumatised mum recounted in a medical tribunal hearing how she was forced down on the bed. Despite her protests, they tried to cut her cervix twice without telling her. There was no anaesthetic and she made it clear that she wanted them to stop, but her pleas were ignored.
After they realised what had happened, two doctors performed a caesarean section in order to get the baby out so they could reattach the head. They let the mum hold her little one to say goodbye.
Breech Newborn Death Causes: How Can They Be Avoided?
As previously stated, an emergency caesarean section would have been the safest decision. Considering that the mum wasn’t fully dilated yet, then the C-section route would have prevented this tragedy from happening. One doctor’s alleged mistake cost a baby its life.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Back in 2012, a baby in Brazil was decapitated after its shoulders got stuck in the birth canal. But the baby was not in breech, so the rest of its body was left inside the womb. Six years earlier, in Kentucky USA, a baby was decapitated during a cervical cerclage procedure.
Around 3-4 % of all pregnancies will result in a breech delivery. There are many possible causes of breech baby presentation. For starters, if a mum has had several babies, or is pregnant with twins, then she’ll likely have a breech baby. Mums who have had premature babies in the past are also prone to carrying breech babies.
What Causes Breech Babies and How Can Mums Have a Safe Delivery?
Breech presentation is influenced by having too much or not enough amniotic fluid. Why? The baby has more room to turn or move around in. Uterine shape and conditions like Placenta Previa also heighten the likelihood.
Aside from the fact that a breech baby is head-up in the uterus, it’s just like a normal pregnancy. The real risk occurs during delivery. When a baby is in breech, they are more at risk for getting stuck in the birth canal. There is also a tendency that their umbilical cord will be compressed or cut off prematurely.
To prevent rare, terrifying breech newborn death causes, a past study claims that planned caesarean sections are still SAFER for breech babies.
The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology backs this claim, saying that although a trained provider can deliver a breech baby normally, C-sections are still the safest decision to make.
Sources: The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Healthline