Failure to Diagnose Anemia During Pregnancy

January 3, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Failure to Diagnose Anemia During Pregnancy

Most pregnant women are thrilled to be expecting, cannot wait to deliver their new bundles of joy, and will receive top-notch prenatal care. In fact, most expectant mothers do not experience delivery complications. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case for everyone.

When complications do arise, medical professionals are usually armed with the necessary tools to guide expectant mothers toward safe and healthy deliveries. When expectant mothers don't receive the medical attention they deserve, however, they can experience serious and dire consequences. While not every childbirth tragedy can be avoided, some birth injuries are caused by medical negligence.

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence, which is also known as medical malpractice, refers to incidents in which medical professionals fail to provide medical care in accordance with their standard of duty. Such standards are equated with the level of care that fellow reasonably prudent medical professionals would ordinarily provide in similar situations.

The Importance of Proper Prenatal Care

A healthy pregnancy is crucial to a healthy delivery and a healthy new baby. Adequate prenatal care, likewise, is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Doctors who provide prenatal care are held to the standard of adequately examining and monitoring their expectant patients. Such doctors are held to the medical expectation of investigating their patients' physical complaints and symptoms, which can be indicative of pregnancy problems. Additionally, prenatal providers are required to adequately attend to scheduling, administering, and following up on prenatal testing.

Many Prenatal Conditions May Arise

Sometimes medical professionals who provide prenatal care fail to diagnose prenatal conditions that ultimately cause birth injuries. In fact, failing to diagnose a prenatal condition can result in a medical malpractice case. There are several significant health conditions that can go undiagnosed in pregnant women, such as the following:

  • Preeclampsia – a hypertensive disorder that is the leading cause of maternal and infant illness or death
  • Gestational diabetes – a condition that can lead to hyperglycemia, which places the newborn at risk of developing macrosomia, breathing problems, and other health issues
  • Hypoglycemia – a condition involving low blood sugar that is especially dangerous for Type 1 diabetics and that can cause stillbirths, congenital malformations, and other fetal injuries
  • Macrosomia – an unusually large fetus, which—if undiagnosed—can lead to delivery complications that may be harmful to both the baby and the mother
  • Rh incompatibility – a condition that can easily be tested for but that can lead to brain damage, seizures, or other infant disorders if left untreated
  • Severe anemia – the result of insufficient iron during pregnancy that can lead to an anemic baby who can also suffer from additional health issues
  • Maternal infection – an infection of the mother left undiagnosed and untreated can go on to infect the newborn baby and cause health issues, such as neonatal sepsis

Failing to identify such prenatal conditions can lead to a case of medically negligent prenatal care.

Anemia During Pregnancy

Many women of childbearing age experience anemia. In fact, iron deficiency is the primary cause of pregnancy-induced anemia, but it's not the only cause. Pregnant women are also prone to developing anemia from deficient folic acid or vitamin B-12 intake, from heightened blood loss, and from specific diseases or genetic blood disorders.

While pregnancy increases a woman's chances of becoming anemic, there are other important indicators, such as:

  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Short gaps between pregnancies
  • Pregnancies that occur before the age of 20
  • Abnormal loss of blood in previous deliveries
  • Diets that are low in iron-rich nutrients
  • Diets that are low in vitamin-C-rich nutrients (which is helpful in iron absorption)
  • Diets that are rich in foods or beverages that inhibit iron absorption, including dairy products, soy products, and coffee and tea
  • Use of medications that affect iron absorption

Symptoms of Anemia

When anemia is mild, you may not exhibit any symptoms. In fact, fatigue and weakness could be your only noticeable symptoms, and both of these are standard issues in pregnancy. Many pregnant women, therefore, aren't aware that they're anemic. Some pregnant women may exhibit additional symptoms of severe anemia, such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Paleness
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Chest pains
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Leg cramps
  • Cracked lips

If you are pregnant, you are naturally worried about your health, but it is not unusual to experience mild anemia during pregnancy. If treated early, such a diagnosis should not pose a significant health threat. If your anemia, however, is severe, goes undiagnosed or untreated, or is ongoing, it is more concerning.

Mild anemia during pregnancy should not affect your fetus. Research suggests, however, that untreated anemia can become more severe and result in low birth weight. Additionally, severe anemia can increase your stillbirth and newborn death risks.

The potential consequences of undiagnosed anemia are so life-altering that you should consider seeking legal counsel immediately if you think your infant may have suffered a birth injury as a result of an undiagnosed condition. At Dolman Law Group, we understand your situation is difficult, but it is crucial for you to act quickly. Determining who is at fault in a birth injury case is complicated, and a skilled birth injury lawyer must quickly collect evidence, interview your medical team, consult with medical experts, and determine fault in your case.

Contact Our Clearwater Birth Injury Lawyers Today

As an expectant mother, you are naturally overjoyed about delivering a happy and healthy addition to your family. Yet even though childbirth is much less dangerous than it once was, birth injuries still occur, and they are sometimes the result of medical negligence. Such negligence is not always self-evident.

If your baby suffered a birth injury related to an undiagnosed anemia condition, contact a skilled birth injury lawyer as soon as you realize what happened. The experienced Clearwater birth injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, are dedicated to protecting the rights of birth injury victims and their families, and we are here to help. We have the experience, skill, and commitment to bring your birth injury case to its best possible resolution. Please contact or call us at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today. 

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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