During normal pregnancies, babies develop for about 40 weeks. That gives them plenty of time to grow strong before leaving the womb. A premature birth can put all that at risk. It exposes infants to lifelong, and sometimes life-threatening, medical problems. That’s why it’s vital to get the right care during a premature delivery—and to hold medical providers accountable when they fail, putting you or your family at risk.
The basics of premature delivery
A baby is premature when delivered three or more weeks before its due date, or before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. About one in ten babies are born this way, and preterm births, along with low birth weight, contribute to about 17 percent of infant deaths in the U.S.
What causes premature births?
In many cases, premature births are unexpected, and doctors are still trying to understand what causes them, but a number of factors can increase a mother’s risk of an early delivery.
General Health Issues
Things that compromise a mother’s general health are associated with premature births, including:
- Smoking and drug use
- Chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
- Being either overweight or underweight
- Eating disorders
- High level of stress
- Traumatic life events like the death of loved ones or domestic violence
Maternal Health Issues
Additionally, specific challenges surrounding the pregnancy or the mother’s reproductive health can contribute, too:
- Infections of amniotic fluid and lower gential tract
- Previous miscarriages, premature births, or abortions
- Family history of premature births
- Being pregnant with twins, triplets, etc.
- An interval of less than six months between pregnancies
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Preeclampsia (high maternal blood pressure during pregnancy)
- Preterm rupture of membranes including the amniotic sac or fluid leaking from the vagina
- Bladder, kidney, or urinary tract infections
Unfortunately, like so much else in the world, premature births and the risks that come with them disproportionately harm mothers from more vulnerable socioeconomic groups. Women of color are more likely to experience them, and black women in particular have a nearly 50 percent higher risk than white women. Additionally, women who work long hours, work on their feet, or are exposed to hazardous environmental conditions like lead paint, radiation, or secondhand smoke have higher chances of a preterm birth.
It’s a lot to keep track of, but that’s your doctor’s job.
If your medical provider is following the proper standards of care, they will seek out and address each of the factors that might cause you a premature delivery.
For a legal consultation with a premature delivery complications lawyer serving Minneapolis, call 612-349-2729
What are some of the health effects of a premature delivery?
Unfortunately, doctors don’t always spot the signs. Because premature babies are entering the world without their vital systems fully grown, they can experience a wide range of acute health challenges right as they are born, including respiratory difficulty, heart failure, low blood pressure, brain injuries, problems keeping warm, and damage to the intestines. As a result of these early complications, premature babies might eventually face ailments such as cerebral palsy, impaired learning, vision problems, neurological disabilities, deafness, dental problems, behavioral or psychological impairments, and other serious chronic health issues.
Minneapolis Premature Delivery Complications Lawyer Near Me 612-349-2729
What kinds of medical malpractice can happen during premature births?
Guiding a mother through a healthy pregnancy starts long before delivery day, and continues on afterward, which means there’s the potential for negligence at numerous steps along the way.
Doctors have a whole toolbox of options to monitor, de-escalate, and even prevent early birth. They should be diagnosing and treating infections in the mother with antibiotics. Proper prenatal screening, such as transvaginal ultrasounds, can reveal problems early on. If women have a history of preterm births or a short cervix, doctors sometimes use progesterone hormones to reduce the risk of early delivery. Alternatively, some perform a surgical procedure to address this, stitching the cervix together to provide extra support, then removing the sutures during delivery. Steroidal medicines can speed up lung development in premature babies, while medicines called tocolytics can delay labor until a mother gets extra treatment.
Spotting the Signs of Early Labor
Sometimes these measures aren’t enough, but adequate treatment also means doctors spot the signs of early labor—rapid contractions, change in vaginal discharge, pelvic pressure, backaches, abdominal cramps—and act quickly.
Malpractice During and After Birth
Once a premature birth begins, it’s a hospital’s responsibility to have the right equipment, training, and facilities, such as a properly resourced neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Then, it’s on doctors and nurses to put these to work and make the right calls.
As mentioned, premature babies face numerous health challenges, which means providers must be ready to use a variety of treatments during the birth process. That includes ventilators for lung problems, incubators to maintain body heat, nutrients delivered through IVs or feeding tubes for GI issues, and surgery for conditions like damaged eyes (retinopathy) or infected bowels. Failure to take these steps could constitute malpractice. Afterwards, if you’re harmed because providers fail to adequately check up on you, that can be malpractice, too.
How long do I have to bring a lawsuit for premature delivery complications medical malpractice in Minnesota?
Under Minnesota law, you usually have 4 years to bring a malpractice case against your doctor or hospital.
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What benefits can I get out of a medical malpractice suit for premature delivery complications?
Malpractice robs a child and their mother of their health and peace of mind, and a medical malpractice suit can help take back some of what you’ve lost. There are no caps on damages in Minnesota, and you are eligible to recover resources which help you meet a number of challenges, including:
- Medical bills and costs
- Lost income
- Past bodily and mental harm, including:
- Emotional distress
- Future bodily and mental harm, including:
- Emotional distress
Minnesota birth injury malpractice lawyers help mothers with premature delivery complications.
It can be confusing, painful, and time-consuming to sort out what went wrong, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you call us, we may be able to use our network of lawyers and medical experts to review your records and help get you the relief you need, including compensation for medical bills, future treatment, lost income, and pain and suffering.
You’ve already been let down once, which is why we operate under a contingency fee structure for maximum fairness: we only receive payment if we help you get what you deserve, either a settlement or victory at trial.
Get in touch with us here if you’re ready to have allies who understand.