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Uterine Rupture

Uterine ruptures are a possible complication of delivery. Learn more about uterine ruptures and your legal options should you experience this complication.

Before getting pregnant, most women know what to expect: changes in the body, plenty of time spent with doctors, and possible complications. While many women are aware of the risks of pregnancy and childbirth, most don’t expect to experience them.

Uterine rupture is one possible complication that can occur during delivery. This is a rare but very serious event that can even cause death. It can potentially happen to any woman, although certain women have a significantly higher chance of a rupture.

Whether you or a loved one have experienced a uterine rupture, or you just wish to educate yourself on potential complications of labor and delivery, it’s beneficial to know what a uterine rupture is and understand the medical and legal ramifications.

What is uterine rupture?

The uterus, also known as the womb, is one of the most important organs in the female reproductive system. It is where a fetus develops and grows throughout a woman’s pregnancy.

A uterine rupture occurs when the wall of the uterus tears open. This can result from the pressure caused by a growing baby during pregnancy or childbirth, and is particularly common in women who have had prior cesarean sections.

Can I sue for a ruptured uterus
after birth?

Your ability to sue for a uterine rupture usually rests upon the cause of the rupture and whether it was foreseeable.

Your physician might be liable under several circumstances, such as:

  • They failed to diagnose a uterine rupture
  • They ignored the signs of a possible rupture
  • They failed to properly treat a uterine rupture
If your physician or other health-care providers’ actions or omissions cause your uterus to rupture and you suffer as a result, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible party.

Compensation for Uterine Rupture

Damages may be available to compensate you for injuries and loss resulting from a uterine rupture.

The amount and type of damages you’re entitled to depend on the details of your case. They can include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
Calculating damages can be challenging, as you may be unaware of what you are owed. A birth injury attorney can review the details of your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

FAQs About Uterine Rupture

What happens when the uterus ruptures?

The uterus should be a strong and healthy place for your unborn child to grow and develop. It’s supposed to stretch and expand to accommodate your child as they grow. However, in some cases, the amount of stretch on the uterine tissues can cause them to weaken. This may leave the uterus more vulnerable to rupture.

When you experience a uterine rupture, the wall of the uterus tears open. It can occur during late pregnancy or during labor and delivery.

A uterine rupture can be scary and stressful for any expecting mother.

What are the symptoms of uterine rupture?

In the early stages, the signs of a uterine rupture are sometimes tricky to distinguish from other symptoms experienced during late-term pregnancy or labor. However, in most cases, they quickly become more severe.

Common uterine rupture symptoms include:

  • Sudden and severe pain in the uterus
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal or slowing fetal heart rate
  • Slowed contractions
  • Significant pain between contractions
  • Slowing or stopped labor

A physician should be able to recognize the symptoms of a uterine rupture and take immediate action.

What is the most common cause of uterine rupture?

There are various risk factors, but the women most at risk for uterine rupture are those who have previously delivered babies by cesarean section (C-section).

During a C-section, doctors cut open the uterus to remove the child. When a woman has more children after previously delivering by C-section, the uterus could rupture along the original incision location.

The main risk factors for uterine rupture include:

  • Previous uterine surgery
  • Previous pregnancies
  • A pregnancy with multiple babies at the same time (such as twins)
  • Vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC)
  • Labor induction
  • Trauma to the uterus

If you are at risk for uterine rupture, your physician should inform you and take every precaution necessary to prevent a rupture. If you still experience a uterine rupture, they must treat it.

What happens to the baby during a uterine rupture?

If a woman is experiencing a uterine rupture, doctors will commonly perform an emergency C-section to remove the baby as quickly as possible to avoid further complications.

According to Healthline, if the rupture is severe, the baby is at risk of slipping into the mother’s abdomen. If this happens, the mother may bleed excessively, and the baby may suffocate.

Is a uterine rupture completely preventable?

Uterine ruptures are not always preventable. Nonetheless, your doctor should be able to predict the likelihood of a uterine rupture based on your medical history and take precautions to help avoid it.

To prevent a possible rupture, your physician may closely monitor your pregnancy and recommend a C-section or vaginal birth, depending on previous pregnancies.

Can uterine rupture cause death?

Uterine ruptures don’t often result in death. However, death after a ruptured uterus is a possibility in the most severe cases. Both mother and baby are at risk of death.

Mothers are at risk of dying from blood loss, as uterine ruptures cause severe bleeding. Babies are at risk of oxygen deprivation. Uterine rupture results in the death of about 6% of babies, and others experience lifelong consequences of oxygen deprivation, such as cerebral palsy or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (brain damage).

How is a uterine rupture treated?

Treatment for a uterine rupture varies, depending on the severity of the rupture.

Taking care of mother and baby is the top priority. Doctors will perform an emergency C-section to remove the baby, then determine what is necessary to treat the mother.

Whenever possible, doctors will surgically repair the uterus. In more serious situations, they will need to perform a hysterectomy – a procedure that removes the uterus entirely. This means that the woman will lose her ability to have any more children in the future.

Because uterine ruptures cause significant blood loss, blood transfusions are often necessary.

Uterine ruptures put substantial stress on a woman’s body. Recovery can be tough and take some time.

Can a woman ever get pregnant again after a uterine rupture?

Whether a woman can get pregnant again depends on the severity of the rupture and treatment.

If doctors can save a woman’s uterus by surgically repairing it, it may be possible for her to carry a pregnancy again. Still, even if doctors save the uterus, they may advise the woman against trying for pregnancy again in the future to avoid complications. Any future pregnancy will be significantly riskier after a uterine rupture.

If doctors have to remove the uterus, the woman will not be able to get pregnant again.

A Qualified Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one has experienced a uterine rupture during pregnancy or childbirth, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice.

A birth injury lawyer can handle every aspect of your case, including:

  • Addressing your concerns
  • Explaining your rights
  • Investigating your case
  • Gathering evidence
  • Interviewing experts
  • Calculating damages
  • Engaging in settlement negotiations
  • Representing you in court, if necessary

A lawsuit can be stressful and time-consuming. An attorney can fight for your right to justice and fair compensation.

Scale of justice with a man signing a document

Resources for Parents Facing Delivery Complications

The Birth Injury Center understands the difficulties that come with birth complications. We offer in-depth support for those dealing with the effects of a birth injury.

If you or a loved one has experienced a uterine rupture, let us help you. Contact us today, or visit our website for more information.

Written by:
Birth Injury Center Team

The Birth Injury Center aims to create informational web content and guides to help women and their families seeking support and guidance for birth injuries caused by medical negligence. All of the content published across The Birth Injury Center website has been thoroughly investigated and approved by medical expert Natalie Speer, RNC-OB, Attorney Ryan Mahoney, and Attorney Rick Meadows.