Premature Birth Due to Negligence
Every pregnant mother hopes for a healthy pregnancy followed by a smooth labor and delivery. This is usually the case, but unfortunately, complications do arise. One common complication is preterm labor and delivery. This occurs when a baby is born before it’s fully developed. Although many premature births are unavoidable, some are the result, or partial result, of a doctor’s negligence. If your family was injured by a doctor’s negligence in this way, continue reading to learn more or call our offices to speak to an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer.
A developing baby is generally considered full term around the 39th or 40th week of gestation. When a baby is born before that point, he or she is considered premature. Although a baby is usually a viable after 24 weeks of pregnancy, meaning it can survive outside the womb, premature babies are at risk for a number of health complications.
Although any woman can go into labor prematurely, there are a number of risk factors. Risk factors include:
- Carrying multiples
- Experiencing premature births in the past
- Abnormal cervix
- Complications with the uterus, including infection
- Other gynecological infections
- Complications of pregnancy including gestational diabetes or excess in amniotic fluid
- Placental abruption
- Kidney disease
- Disorders of the blood
- A history of multiple abortions
- A rapid succession of back to back pregnancies
- Being obese or underweight
When a woman has one or more risk factors for preterm labor, her doctor should monitor her closely for any signs or symptoms. Signs can include contractions, backache, menstrual cramps, abdominal cramps pressure in the pelvis, vaginal discharge or bleeding, or suddenly reduced movement of the baby. If you are experiencing one or many of these symptoms, your doctor must determine the cause of the symptom and act efficiently and effectively in case of preterm labor.
Standard of Care
Your doctor owes you a certain standard of care. Essentially, he or she must provide care that most other doctors would in similar circumstances. When a doctor fails to provide this level of care, and breaches their duty, he or she may be liable for damages for medical malpractice. In the event of preterm labor, an appropriate level of care may include: adequately monitoring and timely observing signs of preterm labor, ordering bed rest for an at-risk mother, proper treatment for an ineffectual cervix, infections, or other risk factors, prescription of steroids to accelerate the development of a fetus if preterm labor occurs, administering medications to stop or slow preterm labor.
If a doctor fails to take the necessary steps to notice or handle preterm labor, and injury results, you may be entitled to compensation.
A baby who is born prematurely is not fully developed and is at risk for a host of medical complications, commonly including: developmental delays, cerebral palsy, hearing or vision problems, digestive problems, respiratory problems, jaundice, or death if the baby cannot yet survive outside of the womb.
If your preterm labor, and resulting injury to your baby, could have been prevented by adequate medical care, an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help. Call Staver Law Group at to speak to a dedicated professional about your case.