Maternal infections can pose serious dangers to babies as they grow and develop in the mother’s womb. Some can cause serious birth defects and lifelong impairments, while others may cause premature birth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
If you believe an undiagnosed or untreated maternal infection played a role in your child’s birth injuries, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you recover compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Maternal Infections Can Affect the Developing Baby
Pregnant women often experience an increase in bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections. Changes to the immune system during pregnancy lower women’s’ overall immunity, making them more susceptible to many types of infections, from the common cold to chickenpox to sexually transmitted diseases.
Some infections are very serious for pregnant women, endangering their health. Most, however, put the growing fetus in danger. They can affect fetal development, causing:
- Loss of the pregnancy
- Preterm birth
- Fetal death
- Birth injuries including physical and intellectual disabilities
Because of the dangers of some types of infections, prenatal care often includes a variety of efforts to catch any infection and stop it in its tracks. This may include:
- Screening tests
- Vaccinations, if necessary
- Prophylactic antibiotics during labor and delivery
- Scheduled cesarean (c-section) delivery
In most cases, modern medicine and the protocols in place to protect newborns from maternal infections accomplish the goal of fighting infection. When doctors follow the proper steps to diagnose and treat a condition or to prevent infection to spread to the infant during delivery, the child can have a positive outcome despite their mother’s infection.
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Some Infections Can Harm the Baby
Some of the infections that affect pregnancy and may cause serious injuries, birth defects, or other problems for the baby include:
- Chlamydia: Premature birth, eye infections, lung infections
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV): Hearing loss, vision loss, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities
- Gonorrhea: If left untreated, can result in miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, gonorrhea infection in the infant after birth, eye infections, vision loss
- Group B Streptococcus (GBS): Treating the mother with antibiotics for this common infection can prevent a life-threatening infection in the newborn
- Genital Herpes: Brain damage, blindness, organ damage, the spread of the virus to the newborn, life-threatening complications
- Listeria: Pregnancy loss, premature birth, stillbirth, infection in the newborn
- Rubella (German Measles): Birth defects, miscarriage, premature delivery, but preventable with a vaccine
- Syphilis: Premature birth, stillbirth, death in the first days of life, problems with hearing, vision, brain development, heart defects, and more
- Toxoplasmosis: Intellectual disabilities, blindness. Avoidable by taking precautions when gardening or handling cat litter or feces.
- Zika: Pregnancy loss, pregnancy complications, serious birth defects
Other potentially dangerous infections may pass on to the baby during pregnancy or delivery. These include:
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
You May Be Able to Pursue Compensation
Because so many maternal infections can cause birth injuries and put a developing baby in danger, there is no one right way to prove this type of case. In general, your attorney will need to demonstrate:
- The appropriate standard of care that was expected
- Your medical team exhibited negligence and violated that standard
- There is a link between your infection and the child’s birth injury
- Another similar medical professional in a similar situation would have made a different decision
There are several ways that a doctor or another medical care provider could play a role in a newborn’s birth injury that occurred because of maternal infection. This may include failure to:
- Screen the mother for all standard conditions
- Diagnose the mother with the symptomatic condition
- Warn the mother of the risk to her child
- Offer vaccines or other prevention measures for preventable infections
- Treat infections in a timely manner
- Take steps to prevent infection from spreading to the infant
Depending on the facts of your case, the doctor, another medical care provider, the clinic, or another party may be liable. Your attorney will help you identify all potentially liable parties and rule out those who did not play a role.
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A Birth Injury Attorney Can Help You Build Your Case
Proving a birth injury case based on a maternal infection can be difficult. Working with an attorney who knows how to navigate the medical malpractice claims process in your state is key in reducing your stress and feeling confident about the outcome of your case.
Every state has unique laws about medical malpractice cases. You may be required to consider:
- The evidence necessary to pursue a case against a doctor, another medical care provider, or a hospital
- The role of medical expert witnesses
- The time limits on taking legal action and the possibility of tolling the statute of limitations because the victim is an infant
Your attorney can explain your legal options and the steps your state will require you to go through to pursue compensation. They can represent you throughout this process and fight for the payout you need to cover medical bills, related expenses, and other losses.
Get a Free Birth Injury Lawyer Consultation Today
In some cases, undiagnosed or preventable maternal infections can cause birth injuries in newborns. If your child suffered injuries related to a maternal infection, you may qualify to pursue a medical malpractice case against the doctor or clinic responsible for monitoring the pregnancy.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (800) 222-9529.