There are many issues that can affect the health and safety of a child during the process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Some of the most serious concerns involve infections that may be passed from a mother to a child. Group B streptococcus (GBS) is one of the most common of these infections, and it can lead to serious injuries and health issues for newborns. By understanding the risk factors, the symptoms, and the effects of a GBS infection, parents can make sure they are taking the right steps to protect their child’s health and well-being.
Causes of GBS Infections for Newborns
Streptococcus, or strep, bacteria are often present in human intestines, genitalia, and urinary tracts. Around one out of every four pregnant women have GBS bacteria in their bodies. In some cases, the bacteria may be transmitted to a child during pregnancy, or an infection may lead to chorioamnionitis, which may lead to inflammation of the placenta, restricting the flow of blood and oxygen to the child and potentially leading to issues such as lack of oxygen or cerebral palsy. However, children are most commonly affected by GBS infections during childbirth.
There are multiple issues that can increase the likelihood of a GBS infection during labor and delivery, including:
Preterm labor that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy
Breaking of water at least 18 hours before the time of birth
Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher during labor
A urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by GBS during pregnancy
A previous pregnancy in which a child experienced a GBS infection
If a child is at risk of a GBS infection, the mother may receive antibiotics during labor to help prevent the possibility of infection.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers should monitor a newborn infant for the signs and symptoms of infection. Symptoms of an early-onset infection that occurs within the first week after a child’s birth may include difficulty breathing, drowsiness or excessive sleeping, fever, changes in blood pressure, or seizures. Late-onset GBS infections, which may occur when a child is between one week and three months old, may involve symptoms such as breathing problems, feeding problems, coughing, congestion, fever, decreased movement of the arms or legs, drowsiness, or seizures.
If a Group B strep infection is not diagnosed and treated properly, a child may experience serious complications. An infection may spread throughout the bloodstream and lead to sepsis, or a child may experience pneumonia. GBS infections can also lead to meningitis, which affects the lining around the brain and spinal cord, and this can lead to multiple types of developmental disorders or physical or mental impairments.
Contact Our Illinois Birth Injury Attorneys for Infections
Newborns are highly susceptible to infections, and they can suffer serious harm if medical personnel do not follow the proper procedures during childbirth. If you need help determining how you should address infections or other health issues your child has experienced, contact our Chicago infant infection injury lawyers at 312-462-4200 to set up a free consultation.