Undiagnosed Pregnancy Complications Can Lead to Birth Injury


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One of the most important aspects of prenatal care is the ongoing monitoring of pregnant mothers to recognize any health concerns or conditions that could cause complications or injuries to mother or baby. Unfortunately, there are times that doctors, or other healthcare professionals, fail to diagnose complications that arise during pregnancies. When that happens, treatment is delayed or not administered at all, which can put babies and mothers at great risk of birth injury.

Any situation that involves a doctor failing to identify a medical condition and properly diagnosing it can potentially be considered medical malpractice. If you or your child suffered birth injuries, it’s important that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable birth injury attorney to determine if you are a victim of medical malpractice.

Undiagnosed Prenatal Conditions that Can Cause Birth Injuries

The close monitoring of expectant mothers is crucial because there are many conditions that can happen during pregnancy. Some conditions, when undiagnosed, can cause significant risk – even death – for mother, baby, or both, if treatment and safe delivery procedures are not put into place. The following are the most common types of complications and conditions that go undiagnosed and regularly result in birth injury:

  • Infections in the mother – When women are pregnant, they may be more susceptible to some types of infection. If these infections are not identified, and they go untreated, they can cause premature labor, miscarriage, and life-threatening symptoms for the expectant mother. Sometimes, infections are passed from mother to child through the placenta, which can cause birth defects and other complications to the baby.
  • Anemia – In a healthy pregnancy, the mother’s body will produce extra blood that supports the unborn baby. In women with anemia, there may be insufficient levels of vitamin B12, iron, folate, and other nutrients, which hampers the production of red blood cells. This can prevent the baby from receiving enough oxygen and sufficient levels of nutrients. When anemia is undiagnosed during pregnancy, it can cause premature labor, low birth weight, and birth defects.
  • Preeclampsia – This complication occurs when there is insufficient blood flow to the placenta. It can lead to an extremely serious condition called eclampsia. When preeclampsia is detected early, it can usually be treated in such a way that mother and baby remain safe. However, when undetected and untreated, it can cause severe conditions, such as cerebral palsy, premature birth, low birth weight, heart failure or stroke in the mother, and other complications.
  • Gestational Diabetes – There are many instances of expectant mothers developing diabetes when they are pregnant, and when identified and managed, it is controllable. But if it isn’t diagnosed and treated, is can cause preterm birth, high birth weight, hypoglycemia, respiratory distress, and increased potential for type-2 diabetes.
  • Prolapsed Umbilical Cord – This occurs when the umbilical cord comes out of the uterus before the baby does, and it can be caused by several different factors. When it happens, blood flow to the baby may be cut off, which causes the baby’s heart rate to decrease and oxygen levels to fall. This can be life-threatening to the baby if not diagnosed and properly managed.
  • rH Incompatibility – Some people have protein on their red blood cells (rH positive), and some do not (rH negative). When mother and child are opposite, it is called rH incompatibility. If this condition isn’t identified early, it can cause serious hemolytic anemia and can be life-threatening to the baby.
  • Fetal Abnormalities – Sometimes fetal abnormalities happen as a fetus develops. In some cases, this can lead to complications that require the mother to undergo a C-section. If abnormalities are not diagnosed and special delivery procedures are not performed, there can be significant risks to mother and baby.
  • Placental Conditions – Two of the most common placental conditions are placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix) and placental abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterus). When these conditions go undiagnosed and are not properly managed, they can lead to premature labor, bleeding, fetal infections, abnormal development, and even stillbirth.

When Undiagnosed Prenatal Complications Cause Birth Injuries

When birth injuries occur due to undiagnosed pregnancy complications, it can result in significant losses for parents. Some of those losses include:

  • Financial burdens due to medical expenses incurred to treat birth injuries.
  • Long-term or lifelong impairments or defects for the child who suffered birth injuries.
  • Pain and suffering for parents and child.
  • Wrongful death in the worst situations.

Proving negligence in birth injury cases is complicated and requires the extensive legal and medical knowledge of expert attorneys and doctors. If you or your child has suffered injuries due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

The birth injury lawyers at Ross Feller Casey have an unmatched record of winning all types of birth injury lawsuits. The firm has medical doctors on staff to review your case. Please contact us for a free evaluation.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.