What Is a Uterine Rupture and What Are the Risks?

What Is a Uterine Rupture?

Uterine rupture occurs when the wall of the uterus tears during labor. If the tear extends through the entire uterine wall, the results can be fatal for both the mother and child. Uterine rupture typically occurs early in the labor process.

Signs that a rupture has occurred can include:

  • Intense pain beyond what is considered normal for routine labor
  • Abnormal heart rate for fetus
  • Rapid heart rate in mother
  • Loss of uterine contractions
  • Protrusion of the fetus, placenta, or both into the abdominal cavity
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Shock

Risk Factors for Uterine Rupture

Who is at risk for a uterine rupture? Some women choose to deliver a baby vaginally after a previous cesarean section. This is known as VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section).

A prior cesarean section can weaken the uterine wall and possibly cause the uterus to tear or rupture during labor in the future. Inducing or augmenting labor, or birthing an infant that is large for gestational age can increase the risk for tearing along the scar line from a previous cesarean section.

Other risk factors for uterine rupture include:

  • Trauma to the abdomen during pregnancy (e.g. motor vehicle accident)
  • Fetal position that is not conducive to vaginal birth
  • Uterine manipulation
  • Grand multiparity, meaning a woman has had five or more pregnancies reaching at least 24 weeks
  • An interval of 18 months or fewer between births

How Uterine Rupture Affects the Infant

From the time of the rupture until the time of delivery, the fetus is at high risk for receiving little to no oxygen. This can cause severe neurological damage and even death.

If uterine rupture is suspected or confirmed by an ultrasound, the baby must be delivered by emergency cesarean section. The newborn will likely need to be resuscitated immediately after birth and may be transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

How Uterine Rupture Affects the Mother

Uterine rupture affects around 1 out of every 1,000-1,500 births and the maternal death rate is 0-1% in developed countries. The condition can typically be detected and avoided by constant monitoring of the birthing process. However, should a uterine rupture occur, an emergency cesarean section should be performed within minutes.

Blood loss can be severe and the mother may need a blood transfusion. A hysterectomy might also be necessary following a rupture.

Get Help From an Experienced Ohio Birth Injury Lawyer

Giving birth to a child can be one of the most wonderful experiences in life, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. If you suffered a uterine rupture while giving birth, or your child suffered injuries you believe should have been prevented, contact us.

We have years of experience helping mothers and children who were harmed by a medical provider’s negligence. Call us 24/7 at (888) 900-6075 or use our free form to email us. We can answer your questions and help ensure you and your child get the compensation you need for current and future medical expenses.