Still Birth and Fetal Demise
A still birth occurs when a mother loses her baby between the 20th week of pregnancy and birth. Still births can be caused by complications of pregnancy or birth such as:
- Preeclampsia – when an expectant mother develops high blood pressure during her pregnancy.
- Chorioamnionitis – an infection an expecting mother can suffer when bacteria moves upward into her uterus and affects the placenta and the membranes around the baby.
- Cord Prolapse – when the umbilical cord comes through the birth canal before the baby. If this happens in a hospital, action must be taken by the physicians and/or nurses immediately in order to protect the life of the baby; failure to take immediate action can result in serious injury or death to the baby.
- Gestational Diabetes – a common problem where a pregnant woman without diabetes develops diabetes during her pregnancy. Untreated Gestational Diabetes puts the baby at risk for Neonatal Hypoglycemia, Premature Birth, Birth Asphyxia, or Reduced Uteroplacental Perfusion (RUPP).
- Nuchal Cord – occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck. A Nuchal Cord is fairly common but can be dangerous if not properly addressed by the treating physician and/or nurses.
- Placenta Abruption – occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus before birth. This leads to the baby not receiving enough oxygen and can quickly become critical, many times requiring an emergency C-section.
- Fetal Distress – occurs when a baby is deprived of oxygen causing a change in the baby’s heart rate during labor and can ultimately lead to hypoxia, severe brain injury or even death. With proper monitoring by a physician and/or nurses, Fetal Distress should be detected and interventions, including an emergency C-Section, can be employed to protect the baby from harm.
- Uterine Rupture – this occurs when the walls of the Uterus tear or rupture, causing lack of oxygen to the baby and bleeding in the mother. This is most common during VBAC deliveries, which is a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.
- Placenta Previa – this occurs when the placenta blocks the cervical opening and can block the baby’s path out of the womb. Placenta Previa early on in the pregnancy can resolve on its own and is usually not a serious issue. However, Placenta Previa in the third trimester can lead to serious bleeding in the mother and birth injuries in the baby.
With proper monitoring and timely medical care, physicians and nurses can often prevent complications of pregnancy or delivery that lead to fetal demise and still birth. Obstetrical care has evolved over recent years to the point where these complications, as well as how to treat them, is well-known and the standard of care is well-established. The failure of the treating physician and/or the labor and delivery nurses to properly monitor or intervene will often equate with negligence and form the basis for a claim for damages.
If you or a family member have recently experienced complications of pregnancy or delivery that led to the death of a fetus or a still birth, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact Bonner Law at 305-676-8800 for a free consultation. We have over 30 years of experience representing patients and healthcare providers in medical malpractice litigation.