Premature birth, or birth before 37 weeks gestation, is associated with a range of medical concerns. A baby who is born too early may experience patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), low blood pressure, breathing problems, intraventricular hemorrhage, and other life-threatening medical problems shortly after birth. Premature babies may grow up suffering from intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing problems, cerebral palsy, and more. Sadly, some premature babies die during infancy. If your baby was born premature, you may question whether medical mistakes are to blame.
Risk Factors that Increase the Chances of Premature Birth
Understanding why a baby is born prematurely is often extremely difficult. Countless factors influence the health and growth of a fetus. However, researchers have identified certain risk factors that make premature birth more likely. These factors include:
- Maternal infections
- Maternal high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Maternal diabetes
- Problems with the mother’s cervix, placenta, or uterus
- Insufficient cervix (incompetent cervix)
- Previous premature births
- Giving birth to multiples
- In vitro fertilization
- Drug, alcohol, or cigarette use during pregnancy
- Maternal obesity or being underweight
- Physical trauma during pregnancy
Doctors should be aware of any risks that may endanger the health of a growing fetus. If doctors fail to take the appropriate steps to address risk factors, they may be liable for an infant’s premature birth. Studies have shown that infection and inflammation are significant contributors to spontaneous preterm births. Urinary tract infections, uterine infections, and sexually transmitted infections should be treated promptly to lessen the chances of harm to the baby.
Warning Signs that a Baby May Be Born Premature
There are warning signs that may indicate that a fetus will be delivered preterm. If immediate medical interventions are taken, premature birth may be stopped so that the fetus can develop fully. Warning signs of premature birth include:
- Contractions less than 10 minutes apart
- Pain in the lower back
- Pelvic pressure
- Vaginal discharge
- Reduced fetal movement
Certain medications may stop or slow preterm delivery. A doctor may also order bed rest for a mother at risk of premature delivery. In some cases, steroid injections may be used to speed up the development of the infant’s vital organs. These are just some of the medical interventions that can help prevent the risk of premature birth or reduce the severity of medical complications caused by premature birth. If a doctor’s failure to provide competent medical care to a woman at risk of preterm delivery leads to an infant’s injury or death, that doctor may be held accountable through a birth injury claim.
Contact an Illinois Premature Delivery Lawyer
If your baby was born premature and you suspect that negligent medical care was to blame, contact a Chicago birth injury attorney at Birth Injury Law Alliance, LLC. We can help you determine if your baby’s preterm birth was caused by medical negligence and hold the liable party answerable. Call 312-945-1300 for a free consultation.