Can a Lack of Prenatal Care Cause a Birth Injury?


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One of the single most important jobs that obstetricians have is to provide proper prenatal care to expectant mothers. That means that they should be aware of any risk factors that the mother has that may indicate a high-risk pregnancy, and they should treat them accordingly. Addressing any red flags during pregnancy promptly may prevent other medical issues from occurring, lowering the risk to mother and child. When proper prenatal care isn’t provided, there is a risk of birth injuries – to mother, baby, or even both.

When an OB-GYN fails to provide adequate prenatal care, it may be considered medical negligence. If the doctor’s actions (or inactions) cause harm to mother or child, then there may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the doctor.

What Are the Responsibilities of an Obstetrician?

Generally speaking, an obstetrician has the important responsibility of overseeing the healthcare of both you and your baby during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Legally, obstetricians have a duty to adhere to the accepted standard of medical care when treating you and your baby. That means that your doctor must provide you and your baby with care that is consistent with what other reasonable obstetricians would provide in similar situations. When they violate or stray from that standard of care, they may be liable for any injuries suffered by you or your child.

What is Considered Prenatal Negligence?

There are specific tests that expectant mothers should have when they have certain risk factors. If an obstetrician fails to order appropriate testing, fails to interpret testing correctly, or delays in performing a C-section when it’s necessary, then his or her actions may be considered a deviation from the standard of care and they may be found medically negligent.

Determining whether an obstetrician has acted negligently isn’t something that parents can do without the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. It requires a careful review of medical records by both an attorney and a medical professional.

What Tests Should Be Ordered During Pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, you trust that your doctor will order and review the appropriate tests during your prenatal visits for the safety of you and your baby. Additionally, your obstetrician should let you know about other tests that you may wish to have to detect possible medical conditions or birth defects that may affect your baby. The doctor should always perform routine tests like taking your blood pressure to determine if you have pregnancy induced hypertension. Other tests can provide your doctor with important information about medical conditions like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and anemia, allowing treatment to be started promptly. A test called amniocenteses can be performed to detect birth defects including Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and spina bifida.

Which Conditions Should Be Identified During Prenatal Testing?

Testing during pregnancy can identify many conditions, allowing them to be treated properly, lowering the risk of birth injuries to you and your baby. Some of those conditions include:

  • Gestational diabetes – This condition typically develops in the second half of pregnancy. Women who are over the age of 25, significantly overweight, or who have a family history of diabetes, are more at risk of developing gestational diabetes. If you fall into one of those categories, your doctor should monitor your blood sugar levels during pregnancy to determine whether you have developed the condition. 
  • Preeclampsia – This condition is indicated by high blood pressure and protein in the urine during the second half of your pregnancy. Blood pressure and urine should be checked throughout your pregnancy to determine whether an early delivery or a C-section is warranted for the best outcome for you and your baby. 
  • Infections – Obstetricians should monitor and treat any infections that pregnant women develop. Infections may be identified by thorough examinations and blood tests. 
  • Oversized baby – An oversized baby can create some significant complications during childbirth, including shoulder dystocia, which occurs when a baby’s shoulders are too wide to pass through the birth canal and they get stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. Your baby’s size should be monitored throughout your pregnancy so that if it becomes necessary to schedule a C-section, it is done in the proper timeframe. 

Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help After Inadequate Prenatal Care

Do you wonder if proper prenatal care could have prevented your baby’s birth injury? Or do you have questions about who is to blame, and whether you are entitled to a financial recovery for your baby’s injuries or harm done to you?

If you or your baby suffered injury or complications during pregnancy, labor, or delivery that your doctor could have prevented by performing the appropriate tests, it’s time to contact one of Ross Feller Casey’s experienced and compassionate birth injury attorneys. Ross Feller Casey is among the nation’s top law firms handling birth injury lawsuits, including those involving negligent prenatal care. We also have doctors on staff to review and evaluate medical records thoroughly to determine whether there were appropriate steps that your doctor failed to take that caused injury to your or your child.

Contact Ross Feller Casey today for an appointment to have your case evaluated. The consultation is free, and your case will be handled on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay any fees until there is a financial recovery in your case.

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