Expecting a baby is an exciting time in a couple's life, whether it's your first or your fifth - but unfortunately that excitement can quickly turn to tragedy when something goes wrong. If you and your wife experienced a difficult, traumatic labor and delivery and think midwife negligence could be to blame, here's what you need to know.

The Value of Midwives

There's probably a good reason you chose to work with midwives: you knew that in many, if not most, instances, midwives provide excellent care. Women who are taken care of by midwives and/or doulas often end up having better outcomes than women who don't. Generally compassionate, caring and knowledgeable, they are an excellent resource for expecting moms. Hospitals and birthing centers benefit from them. That having been said, just as with doctors or any other medical professionals you entrust with your physical care, they need to be monitored and carefully surveyed. The fact is that in rare situations, some midwives may do more than they should be doing in the care of their patients and fail to get timely consultations. When midwives mismanage situations like these, they can wind up putting the mother's health at risk.

Low-Risk vs. High-Risk Pregnancies

One of the things you will often hear about home birth is a discussion of a mother's risk factors - age, weight, health conditions, etc. Low-risk pregnancies are deemed suitable for home births; high-risk pregnancies aren't. But here is the problem: All women are potentially high-risk pregnancies. In fact, when you have a home delivery and something goes wrong, too much time may pass before medical help can arrive to correct the situation. This is the very definition of high risk - something that can put the mother at grave harm and danger. So, even women considered low in risk can quickly become high in risk.

What Can Go Wrong

There are many things that can go wrong during labor and delivery. From a complicated breech birth to a baby born in distress, or a mother having a unexpected health crisis, these situations demand greater attention than a midwife can give. It's vital that the midwife recognizes these problems timely and knows when to call for extra help. If she doesn't, it could be a huge issue.

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