Causes and Risks of Preterm Birth
Representing Clients Injured as a Result of Medical Errors that Led to Preterm Birth
During pregnancy, babies need plenty of time to develop and grow so they are strong and capable enough to survive without their mother’s direct provision of blood, oxygen, and nutrients. When a baby is born too early, her organs may not be fully developed enough to work properly and she may also suffer serious injuries during the delivery process. Some birth injuries from premature labor and birth can be treated and lead to a full recovery, though the medical expenses of treating premature babies can be extensive. On the other hand, some babies who suffer injuries due to preterm birth will have long-lasting impairments and health conditions.
Sometimes, no amount of preparation or care can prevent a woman’s early labor. However, some early births occur as a result of medical errors on the part of a doctor. If your baby was born too early because of your doctor’s negligence, that doctor should be held legally liable for any medical costs, lasting impairments, or other losses incurred by you and your child.
The Dolman Law Group regularly handles cases involving complex and serious medical injuries, including birth injuries. Our skilled Clearwater birth injury lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve from any doctor who caused you or your child harm. Call today for more information about how we can help you.
Identifying Risk Factors for Preterm Labor
While preterm labor can happen without any type of warning, there are specific risk factors that can indicate you may go into labor before your baby reaches full term. The following are some of the risk factors:
- Prior preterm births
- Multiple babies
- Short time between pregnancies
- Pregnancy using in vitro fertilization
- Issues with the placenta
- Fevers during pregnancy
- Maternal infections
- Gestational diabetes
- Prior abortions
- Prior miscarriages
- High blood pressure or preeclampsia
- Inadequate weight gain during pregnancy
- Inadequate nutrition
- Drug use or smoking
- High stress or trauma during pregnancy
- Physical trauma and injuries
If any of the above circumstances apply to a pregnancy, a doctor should take all necessary precautions to prevent early labor and delivery. If a doctor ignores obvious warning signs of preterm labor, he may be deemed negligent if injuries occur as a result of early birth.
Premature Birth Injuries
Many different injuries may occur if your child is born too early. The following are some of the battles a premature child may face:
- Cerebral palsy – This disorder can occur in premature babies due to insufficient blood flow to the brain or infection. It can result in lasting physical disorders regarding muscles, movement, and posture.
- Breathing – Many infants with inadequately developed lungs can develop respiratory distress syndrome, apnea, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which can be chronic.
- Heart – Preemies often have very low blood pressure that may require blood transfusions. They also may have a persistent space between major blood vessels called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), that could lead to heart failure if not properly treated.
- Brain bleeds – Many early babies suffer hemorrhaging in the brain, which can increase intracranial pressure and cause brain injuries that can leave a child with lasting cognitive, physical, and behavioral impairments. Some babies may require surgery to relieve the pressure and remove fluid from the brain.
- Hypothermia – Temperature control is a major issue for many premature babies because of their low fat stores. Hypothermia can cause breathing issues and stunt growth.
- Blood issues – Premature babies may suffer from anemia, jaundice, and other blood disorders.
- Metabolism – Early birth can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause seizures in a preemie.
- Immune system – When a baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed, she is vulnerable to infections that can lead to life-threatening sepsis.
- Sensory issues – Preterm birth can cause babies to have vision and hearing impairments that are sometimes permanent.
- Intellectual impairments – Premature babies are often more likely to experience slower cognitive development, as well as suffer from learning disorders, behavioral disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and certain psychological disorders.
- Ongoing health issues – Babies who are born too early often have ongoing health issues for years. They may experience infections, stomach issues, asthma and more. Sometimes, even a cold or seemingly minor health problem may require hospitalization for premature babies.
Common Losses Incurred Due to Preterm Birth
As you can see, there are many difficulties that can arise if a baby is born too early. For this reason, preterm birth should be anticipated and avoided whenever possible through a carefully considered treatment plan, which may involve bedrest or certain medications. If preterm labor does occur, you and your child may incur substantial losses as a result.
Some of the common losses following preterm labor and birth include:
- Medical expenses – Premature babies generally require time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until they finish developing and are strong enough to survive without medical assistance. In addition, parents will incur the costs of medical treatment and hospitalization for ongoing medical care due to preterm birth injuries.
- Lost income – Many parents must take extra time away from work to care for the needs of a premature baby. If a child has lasting impairments and special needs, one parent may have to completely quit working to provide constant care.
- Lasting impairments – Children who have long-term injuries and impairments often do not have the same opportunities as fully-abled children. Their disabilities may prevent them from succeeding as much in school, work, or even everyday activities.
Contact Our Clearwater Birth Injury Attorneys Today
Because the losses from a preterm birth can be extensive, it is important for parents to identify when a preterm birth could have been avoided and when birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice. The highly experienced birth injury lawyers of Dolman Law Group can advise you whether you may have the right to compensation for your substantial losses. Please call us at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765