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Doctor or Obstetrician listen fetus heartbeat and examine fetus position on Pregnant mother belly by using stethoscope at hospital.
Paulson & Nace
(202) 463-1999

Pregnancy complications can be debilitating, but many women find comfort in knowing that symptoms often can go away after childbirth. However, new research has found that the effects may be longer-lasting than experts had previously realized. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine determined that pregnancy and childbirth complications are linked to an increased mortality rate in mothers. Women with preterm delivery, babies who were small for their gestational age, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other hypertensive disorders had elevated mortality risks more than 40 years after giving birth. The study’s authors concluded that adverse pregnancy outcomes should be recognized as a long-term risk factor for mortality in women.

Researchers analyzed the Swedish Medical Birth Register, a database that contains birthing information for more than two million women in Sweden dating back to 1973. The study examines women who had singleton pregnancies between 1973 and 2015 and identified patients with adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. They found that the five pregnancy complications they identified were all associated with increased mortality. As a result, women with these adverse outcomes should be monitored after giving birth and have long-term follow-up visits to detect potential health complications that can lead to dying earlier. 

Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

Preterm Delivery: Preterm delivery is defined as a birth that happens before the 37th week of pregnancy. Preterm birth is more common in women who are carrying more than one baby, who have diabetes, and who have previously given birth prematurely. Premature babies are at a higher risk of developing long-term illnesses like asthma and feeding problems.

Small for Gestational Age: When babies are born with a weight lower than the 10th percentile, they’re deemed small for gestational age (SGA). SGA is often caused by intrauterine growth restriction, a condition that prevents a baby from getting enough nutrients while in utero. Babies that are small for gestational age frequently present with problems at birth, like lower oxygen levels and low blood sugar. 

Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia affects roughly 1 in 25 pregnancies in the U.S. The condition is characterized by high blood pressure and high protein levels in urine, and it typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy. When left untreated, complications from preeclampsia can be fatal. Preeclampsia is treated by monitoring a patient’s blood pressure and giving medications if needed.

Other hypertensive disorders: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is responsible for preeclampsia and other conditions. Some of those complications include chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, eclampsia, and Hemolysis Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelet Count (HELLP) syndrome. HELLP syndrome affects a mother’s blood and liver and can lead to early delivery. It has a mortality rate of up to 24%. 

Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is diagnosed when an expecting mother has high blood sugar, which usually resolves after birth. If gestational diabetes isn’t treated, it can lead to preterm birth, breathing difficulties, and low blood sugar in a baby. In severe cases, it can cause stillbirth.

Pregnancy and Birth Negligence

Several factors determine whether someone will develop pregnancy complications — some of which are outside of a patient’s control. For example, women who are ethnic minorities are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. In some cases, pregnancy complications are preventable. Medical providers must provide adequate care to patients, and when they fail to meet that standard, they can be found negligent. Labor and delivery negligent behavior might include:

  • Failing to run tests to diagnose an adverse pregnancy outcome
  • Not sufficiently monitoring a mother or baby for potential complications
  • Neglecting to schedule a Cesarean section or induce delivery 
  • Failing to prescribe needed medications

Proving negligence in pregnancy isn’t an easy task, and your hospital likely employs lawyers who will try to discredit your claim. That’s why it’s crucial to find a birth injury attorney who can advocate for you and your child. Additionally, studies like the one conducted in Sweden can bolster a pregnancy negligence case by showing the long-term effects of a medical provider’s negligent behavior. Even if a woman seems fine after recovering from pregnancy, she may die an early death for entirely preventable reasons.

Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit

There are several benefits to filing a birth injury lawsuit if you’ve experienced pregnancy or birth negligence. One of the most apparent advantages is the ability to recover compensation for the suffering you endured. You’ll be eligible to be reimbursed for the medical expenses you incurred due to your health complications and lost wages due to time spent recovering. Additionally, compensation from a lawsuit can cover non-economic losses, like pain and suffering, and a lesser quality of life due to the effects of your injury. If your baby was injured during birth, a lawsuit could also cover their future medical expenses.

The attorneys at Paulson & Nace have a proven track record of handling birth injury cases. Our experienced team advocates for victims who have experienced pregnancy and birth negligence in Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. Call us today at 202-463-1999 or contact us online for more information or to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation.

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