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Maternal Infections and Sepsis

Chicago maternal sepsis lawyer

Addressing Infectious Diseases During Pregnancy and Birth - Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorney

During pregnancy, labor, and delivery, medical personnel will take a great deal of care to ensure that the child is safe from harm. Measures are typically taken to prevent infections that could injure the child. However, it is also important to address infections that could threaten the health of the mother.

Types of Maternal Infections

A pregnant mother may contract a variety of bacterial or viral infections. These infections should be diagnosed as soon as possible, and treatment should be administered to limit the effects to the mother and prevent transmission of infections to the infant. Some infections that can affect an expectant mother include:

  • Toxoplasmosis - Parasites that are commonly found in cat feces or soil may be contracted by a mother, and this may lead to premature birth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
  • Hepatitis - This virus can cause damage to the liver and jaundice. Different strains of the virus can also have other effects on a mother. For example, Hepatitis A increases the risks of placental abruption and preterm labor.
  • Food poisoning - If a mother contracts a foodborne illness, this can create a variety of pregnancy complications that affect both the mother and the child. For example, E. coli can cause severe abdominal cramps, fever, or kidney failure, and Listeriosis can result in premature labor or miscarriage.
  • Parvovirus - This illness, which is commonly known as fifth disease, can cause severe anemia in a mother who has a red blood cell disorder, sickle cell disease, or an immune disorder. It also increases the risk of miscarriage.
  • Chorioamnionitis - This condition involves a bacterial infection that affects the uterus, amniotic fluid, and/or placenta. In addition to affecting the flow of blood and oxygen to the child, potentially resulting in asphyxia, chorioamnionitis can cause a mother to experience low blood pressure, reduced heart rate, blood clots in the lungs, and post-partum hemorrhaging, and it increases the likelihood that Cesarean delivery will be necessary.
  • Urinary tract infections - If bacteria enter the mother's urinary tract or bladder during pregnancy, this can lead to an infection of the kidneys, which can result in preterm labor, anemia, or preeclampsia.
  • Bacterial vaginosis - While a variety of microorganisms are normally found in the vagina, an overgrowth or imbalance of these bacteria during pregnancy may lead to premature birth, and it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the mother.
  • Sexually transmitted infections - Diseases contracted through sexual contact, such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, or HIV, can have a variety of negative effects on a mother's health, and they can be life-threatening. They can also result in complications during pregnancy, including increasing the chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature labor.

A pregnant mother should be screened for infectious diseases, and immediate treatment should be administered upon diagnosis. In many cases, infections can be treated with antibiotics, but these should be administered with care, since some types of antibiotics have been linked to birth defects, and the improper dosage can cause injuries to both the mother and the child.

Addressing Maternal or Postpartum Sepsis

While infections during pregnancy or birth can cause harm to the mother, they become even more dangerous if they spread throughout the bloodstream. This can result in sepsis, in which the immune system's response to infection causes inflammation and damage to organs and tissues throughout the body. Sepsis may result in extremely low blood pressure, respiratory distress, organ failure, or death.

Sepsis can sometimes be difficult to diagnose during pregnancy or after birth, because its symptoms may be similar to what a mother commonly experiences. Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or breathing that result from sepsis may be mistaken for changes that occur in a mother's body during pregnancy or a response to the pain experienced during labor and delivery. Due to the high risks of serious or fatal injuries, medical personnel should take care to recognize the signs of sepsis and provide immediate treatment.

Help Addressing Infections and Sepsis

If maternal infections or sepsis are not treated correctly, a mother and her child can suffer serious injuries or death. The effects of these conditions can be far-reaching, and they may impact a family for years to come. If you have experienced this type of injury during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can help you receive the financial assistance that will ensure that you are able to meet your family's needs. To schedule a free consultation, contact us by calling 312-945-1300.

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