Post-Term Pregnancy Monitoring and Malpractice

Earlier this week we talked about the potential risks of elective births before 40 weeks gestation. Today, we want to look at the other side. What happens when a mother is post-term or has been pregnant for 42 weeks or more? Do doctors then have a responsibility to induce labor or recommend a C-section? Could the failure to monitor the pregnancy be medical malpractice?

 Doctors have a responsibility to increase monitoring of post term pregnancies and to provide options to the expectant mother. Post term pregnancies present increased risks to the mother and child. Those risks include a greater chance of death during or after childbirth. Accordingly, what was reasonable and acceptable care by an obstetrician at 20 weeks gestation may not be reasonable and acceptable at 42 weeks gestation.

 If you are post term, please talk to your doctor about the risks for you and your child and about your medical options.