An extreme amount of caution is necessary when bringing a child into the world. Mothers trust their physicians to make appropriate decisions and facilitate a safe delivery. Unfortunately, these responsibilities are not always met, which can lead to a target=”_blank”newborn injury. Birth injuries can occur through out the pregnancy, as well as during delivery. One of the most common causes of injury is preterm birth, which occurs when the baby is delivered prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. Recent reports call it the leading cause of death among infants around the world.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), internationally, more than a million children die each year from premature birth-related complications. These numbers resulted from a study by the World Health Organization, along working with several other medical researchers. Though the highest rates of death occur in India and Nigeria, these statistics still highlight the dangers of preterm birth within the United States, particularly when adequate care is not provided.
The Causes of Premature Birth
The Mayo Clinic explains that preterm births occur in three general stages. Late preterm occurs when the baby is delivered between 34 and 37 weeks of gestation. Very preterm occurs in births before 2 weeks of pregnancy and deliveries occurring prior to 25 weeks of gestation are considered extremely preterm. Most preterm births are reportedly classified as late term.
There are numerous conditions that can lead to preterm births, including:
–Previous premature birth-related
–Poor nutrition –Smoking cigarettes –Multiple miscarriages or abortions –High blood pressure
–In vitro fertilization conception
–Less than 6 months between consecutive pregnancies
–Pregnancies with multiples
–Inadequate prenatal care
Though this list is extensive, it does not include all relevant risk factors. The Mayo Clinic advises that many preterm births occur with mothers who have no risk factors at all.
Difficulties from Preterm Births
Preterm infants can face a variety of life threatening problems from birth. An undeveloped respiratory system can lead to severe breathing difficulties. A lack of adequate oxygen can keep vital organs from developing properly and some of these breathing complications develop into chronic, long term lung diseases for the baby. Preterm babies may also experience problems with brain development, due to an increased risk of intraventricular hemorrhaging, or bleeding within the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, severe occurrences can cause permanent brain damage. Other incidents require surgery to relieve the chronic bleeding and pressure on the brain.
The role of a physician in preventing preterm births is multifaceted. Prevention is the first course of action. Through regular check-ups, a doctor should recognize the risk factors early and work with the mother to develop a plan to keep the fetus safe. When labor begins, adequate monitoring is necessary,along with appropriate decision making about delivery and care for the infant immediately following the birth. If any of these responsibilities are not met, birth injuries can occur and responsible parties should be held accountable.
If your newborn was delivered prematurely and you believe that the medical staff was at fault, contact the experienced birth injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti today at (877) 374-1417 for a free consultation.
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