Expectant mothers should exercise vigilance to protect themselves from infections and sickness. Left untreated, some conditions can lead to serious consequences for mother, as well as well as the infant. Chorioamnionitis is a condition that occurs when bacteria infects the membrane that surrounds the fetus in the womb. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it occurs in 2% of pregnancies in America and is a major cause of premature births.
Chorioamnionitis reportedly starts with a bacterial infection within the urogenital tract of the mother. Is may begin in the vagina, anus or rectum. The infection moves through the tract, eventually reaching the uterus where the growing fetus is located. The most common infections include E. Coli and Streptococci.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Though chorioamnionitis can present with no symptoms, pregnant women generally show some signs, including:
-Fever, with a highly elevated temperature
-A rapid heartbeat from the mother, as well as the fetus
-Stomach pain, from a uterus that is tender to the touch
-Unusual smelling vaginal discharge
It is most often diagnosed when a patient exhibits symptoms, which should prompt the treating doctor to conduct further testing. This may include a blood sampling to check for bacteria. Alternatively, the doctor may check the levels of amniotic fluid by taking samples of the amniotic fluid from within the womb. This is done with through a procedure called an amniocentesis. Your physician can also use ultrasound images to check the well being of the fetus. Even when no symptoms are present, experts suggest that doctors screen all pregnant women for Streptococci around 35 weeks of gestation.
Once diagnosed, mothers with mild cases of chorioamnionitis are prescribed antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. More serious cases may necessitate the premature delivery, in order to administer antibiotics to the infant as well. Left untreated or undiagnosed, the condition can lead to serious consequences, including:
-Worsening infections occurring with the pelvic region of abdomen
-Blood clotting within the pelvis and lungs. This can lead to an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the heart and the brain. Heart attacks, brain injuries or death can result.
-Endometriosis is an infection within the lining of the uterus that causes abnormal cell growth. These cells attach themselves to the the uterine walls. Though most pregnancies can proceed to term after a diagnosis of endometriosis, some studies reportedly suggest that it can lead to premature births.
-Sepsis occurs when the body releases an over abundant amount of chemicals into the blood to fight off infection. This can cause severe inflammation throughout the body, decreasing effective blood flow and elevating the risk of organ failure.
When physicians fail to take the standard procedures necessary to diagnose and treat chorioamnionitis, the consequences can prove devastating to the mother and baby. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, victims can secure the compensation that they deserve.
If you or your baby experienced a chorioamnionitis related birth injury, and you believe the doctor or hospital may be responsible, contact experienced birth injury attorneys.
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