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Chicago birth injury attorneyIdeally, a baby is born head-first. This ensures that the child can breathe as soon as his or her head clears the birth canal. A baby that is positioned incorrectly within the mother’s body during labor and delivery may suffer life-threatening birth injuries. Doctors may need to take corrective actions to reposition the baby or deliver the baby through Cesarean section (C-section.) If a doctor fails to handle a breech birth correctly, the baby may suffer serious or even fatal injuries.

Potential Remedies for a Baby in Breech Presentation

When a baby is in breech presentation, doctors have several choices. In some cases, the doctor may be able to manually reposition the baby so that the mother can continue with a vaginal delivery. External cephalic version (ECV) is a process during which a doctor pushes on the outside of the woman’s abdomen in order to manually reposition the baby. However, this procedure is not safe in situations involving multiples, rupture of the amniotic sac, abnormal fetal heart rate, low amniotic fluid levels, or vaginal bleeding.

In many cases, the best way to ensure that a breech baby is delivered safely is to deliver the baby via C-section. Although there are also risks associated with a C-section, the risks of vaginal delivery often outweigh the risks of a C-section when the baby is not positioned correctly. An obstetrician must consider all of the relevant factors and make the decision that reduces the chances of injury to the baby and the mother as much as possible.

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IL birth injury lawyerDuring pregnancy, the health of the growing fetus is directly tied to the mother’s health. If the mother suffers from a medical condition such as preeclampsia, this may have a direct impact on the baby’s wellbeing. For these reasons, doctors must closely monitor a pregnant mother’s health. The sooner a maternal health condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. If a doctor fails to recognize the signs of a health complication during pregnancy, the baby may suffer an avoidable birth injury.

What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is characterized by high maternal blood pressure during pregnancy. Sometimes, a mother suddenly experiences elevated blood pressure, and other times, her blood pressure slowly rises over time. Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg is considered abnormal. Some mothers suffering from preeclampsia do not experience symptoms of high blood pressure. Others experience symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling in the face and hands
  • Signs of kidney and liver problems

Because pregnant mothers may not experience symptoms and many preeclampsia symptoms are typical of pregnancy in general, doctors must routinely check a pregnant woman’s blood pressure. Two abnormal blood pressure readings more than four hours apart are usually indicative of preeclampsia.

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IL birth injury lawyerPremature birth, or birth before 37 weeks gestation, is associated with a range of medical concerns. A baby who is born too early may experience patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), low blood pressure, breathing problems, intraventricular hemorrhage, and other life-threatening medical problems shortly after birth. Premature babies may grow up suffering from intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing problems, cerebral palsy, and more. Sadly, some premature babies die during infancy. If your baby was born premature, you may question whether medical mistakes are to blame.

Risk Factors that Increase the Chances of Premature Birth

Understanding why a baby is born prematurely is often extremely difficult. Countless factors influence the health and growth of a fetus. However, researchers have identified certain risk factors that make premature birth more likely. These factors include:

  • Maternal infections
  • Maternal high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Problems with the mother’s cervix, placenta, or uterus
  • Insufficient cervix (incompetent cervix)
  • Previous premature births
  • Giving birth to multiples
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Drug, alcohol, or cigarette use during pregnancy
  • Maternal obesity or being underweight
  • Physical trauma during pregnancy

Doctors should be aware of any risks that may endanger the health of a growing fetus. If doctors fail to take the appropriate steps to address risk factors, they may be liable for an infant’s premature birth. Studies have shown that infection and inflammation are significant contributors to spontaneous preterm births. Urinary tract infections, uterine infections, and sexually transmitted infections should be treated promptly to lessen the chances of harm to the baby.

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IL birth injury lawyerMost babies weigh between six to nine pounds at birth. While many people are aware of the risks premature and underweight babies face, fewer are aware of the risks associated with larger-than-average babies. “Fetal macrosomia” refers to an infant that weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Fetal macrosomia occurs in just under 10 percent of newborns. While many babies with fetal macrosomia are born healthy, high fetal weight can increase the risks of birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia.

Potential Consequences of Fetal Macrosomia

Babies that meet the criteria for fetal macrosomia increase the chances of complications during labor and delivery. One of the primary concerns for large babies is the risk of shoulder dystocia. This condition occurs when the baby becomes lodged on the mother’s pelvis during delivery. The infant’s head is delivered, but his or her shoulders are too large to fit through the mother’s pubic bone. This potentially life-threatening condition must be immediately addressed. Shoulder dystocia may deprive the baby of oxygen which can cause brain damage in a matter of minutes. The condition may also place so much pressure on the baby’s neck and shoulders that the baby’s brachial plexus nerves are damaged.

Uterine rupture, a condition in which the uterus tears during labor, may also be caused by fetal macrosomia. This condition typically necessitates an emergency C-section. Fetal macrosomia may require the use of birth-assistive devices such as vacuum extractors and forceps which may potentially injure the infant. Vaginal tearing and other injuries to the mother may be caused by large birth weight as well.

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Illinois medical negligence attorney birth injury

Childbirth used to be extremely painful and had a high chance of infant or maternal death. Medications have made childbirth much safer for women in the western world. Unfortunately, the medications used to make childbirth easier and safer are sometimes the same medications that can cause preventable birth injuries. Incorrect administration, inaccurate dosing, and other medication mistakes can cause severe harm to infants and mothers.

Prescribing or Administering a Medication During Pregnancy That Harms the Baby

Women who are pregnant must be very careful of what they put in their bodies. While most people think of illicit drugs when they think of drugs that can harm an unborn child, prescription medications can also cause birth injuries or even fetal death. Many SSRI medications designed to treat depression such as Zoloft and Prozac are very dangerous to unborn children. Persistent pulmonary hypertension, cleft palate, and Spina Bifida are just some of the birth defects that may be caused by certain antidepression medications. Some antibiotic medications, acne medications, and seizure medications like Lamictal and Tegretol may also cause birth defects. Doctors who prescribe or administer these medications to pregnant women may be liable if the baby suffers a birth defect.

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