There are certain risks associated with pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and complications can occur during childbirth that may lead to birth injuries. These risks can increase when a mother goes into labor before reaching her due date. Preterm labor can have a variety of effects on a child’s health, and premature infants often require a high level of care and medical interventions to prevent serious harm. By understanding the risks associated with premature birth, parents can determine whether there were any preventable issues that could have led to injuries to their child, and they can take the correct actions to ensure that a child receives the necessary care going forward.
Complications That Can Affect Premature Babies
Babies who are born before the 37th week of pregnancy may have a higher risk of complications during delivery. Premature infants are typically smaller than those who are born at full term, and their organs and bodily systems may not have fully developed. This can make them more vulnerable to trauma during labor and delivery, and they may experience injuries such as bruises, broken bones, or nerve damage.
Other health issues that can affect children born prematurely include:
If a child’s lungs have not developed sufficiently, they may struggle to breathe and receive enough oxygen after birth. They may experience apnea in which breathing pauses for several seconds, or respiratory stress disorder may occur, preventing the lungs from expanding properly. Premature infants are also at risk for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a lung disease that will require the administration of oxygen and increase the risks of dangerous lung infections.
A defect known as patent ductus arteriosus may result in an opening between important blood vessels in the heart, potentially leading to heart failure. Premature infants may also experience dangerously low blood pressure.
Children born before full term may experience bleeding in the brain, which may cause damage to brain tissues and lead to cerebral palsy or other ongoing health issues.
A premature child’s digestive system may not be fully developed, and the tissues lining the intestines can be damaged, leading to ongoing digestive issues or life-threatening injuries.
Without sufficient red blood cells, a child may experience a lack of oxygen or other serious health issues.
A premature infant’s immune system may not be able to properly respond to infectious diseases that may be contracted during delivery. In some cases, children may experience sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
Vision and hearing issues
An eye disease known as retinopathy of prematurity may scar the retina or cause retinal detachment, potentially leading to vision impairments or blindness. Premature infants may also experience some loss of hearing.
Because of the many issues that can affect the short-term and long-term health of children who are born prematurely, doctors and other medical professionals should be aware of potential risk factors that could lead to preterm labor. These may include previous premature births, being pregnant with twins or triplets, anomalies in the reproductive organs, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, and demographic factors related to race or age. By taking the correct precautions, doctors can help minimize the risks of preterm labor and take steps to ensure that a child can be born safely.
Contact Our Chicago Infant Injury Lawyers for Premature Birth
Premature births can happen for a number of reasons, and doctors and nurses should be sure to respond appropriately in order to prevent a child from suffering harm. In cases where children experience injuries after premature birth, parents will want to understand who was responsible and what they can do to make sure their child receives the proper care. At [[title]], we work with families to ensure they have the resources to address issues related to birth injuries. We can help identify the causes of injuries related to preterm labor and ensure a family can provide the care and treatment a child needs. Contact our Illinois birth injury attorneys at [[phone]] to set up a free consultation and get help with these issues.