Prostaglandin gels are popularly used during labor and delivery as an artificial way of inducing labor for women who have difficulty doing so. They mimic the action of prostaglandin, a natural hormone produced by the body. Prostaglandin thins and softens the cervix, preparing it for delivery of the baby. When prostaglandin gels are used, the pregnant woman would usually start labor within 6 to 12 hours.
There are several conditions for the use of prostaglandin gels. Doctors cannot just use them without satisfying even just one of the following conditions. Prostaglandin gels may be used to induce labor if the pregnant woman is already past her due date. They can also be used to start labor if you are going to deliver a large baby or a small one, and you are already near or past your due date. Hypertension in pregnant women is also a ground for induction of labor using prostaglandin gels.
Prostaglandin gels are inserted into the cervix. After that, you have to remain in bed for an hour so that it does not ooze out and it stays in place. While you are lying in bed, you will be hooked to a fetal monitor so that the doctor can monitor your contractions and the baby’s response to the prostaglandin gel. You will start to experience true labor within 6 to 12 hours, but if you don’t, you will be sent back home and asked to return for another dose at another time.
Prostaglandin gels can have some rare but annoying side effects, such as vaginal irritation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, cramping pain, and lower back pain. You may also have excessive contraction, which can be pretty dangerous. Excessive contractions result from overstimulation of the uterus, which can then lead to fetal hypoxia or lack of oxygen going to the brain of the baby, hence leading to brain damage. That is why it is important for pregnant women to be hooked to a fetal monitor during the induction of labor with the use of prostaglandin gel. If the doctors ignore the effects of the prostaglandin gel and something bad happens to the baby or the mother, they can be held liable for the incident. They can also be held liable for the improper use of prostaglandin gels.
However, it is very easy to defend these kinds of cases on the part of the doctors. Most doctors’ lawyers will argue that what happened during labor and delivery are beyond their control already and the brain damage that baby incurred is a result of non-physician management causes. They can also argue that the brain damage can be caused by a number of other factors, such as inherent metabolic conditions, infection, genetics, and even the mother’s lifestyle.