High Risk Pregnancy Negligence Attorneys in New Jersey
For high risk pregnancies, doctors must be prepared to administer the appropriate tests at the right time, properly monitor the pregnancy throughout the gestational period, and appropriately plan and manage delivery to prevent serious harm to mother and child. They must first identify prenatal conditions and circumstances that may place the mother and baby at higher risk for complications and birth injuries. Likewise, physicians and other healthcare providers must diligently monitor both the mother and fetus at delivery, ready to give the infant oxygen, change the mother’s position, and perform a cesarean section birth if necessary. Missing critical signs of high-risk pregnancy, failing to run the proper tests, or lacking preparation for complications are all extremely dangerous and may be considered medical malpractice.
If your pregnancy was difficult, fraught with complications that endangered your baby’s life and caused you or your baby great suffering, it is imperative to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can assess your case and advise you of your rights. You may wonder if your doctor missed the signs of high risk pregnancy or was otherwise negligent in providing care that may have saved you or your baby from a serious birth injury. You are not alone. At Fronzuto Law Group, our legal team has successfully recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of mothers and infants who have suffered harm as a result of malpractice during pregnancy and childbirth in New Jersey. With an individualized, highly attentive approach to our clients, we conduct thorough investigations of what occurred in each case and aggressively pursue maximum compensation. If you would like to discuss your case with a knowledgeable birth injury lawyer free of charge, simply call 973-435-4551 or fill out our convenient online form requesting a free consultation. Our practice is dedicated to assisting people in situations like yours and we zealously pursue the best possible results.
High Risk Pregnancies
High risk pregnancies are characterized by conditions that endanger mother and baby, placing them at increased risk for complications. A high risk pregnancy must be carefully monitored by doctors and specialists with experience handling life-threatening complications before, during and after birth. Specifically, conditions like diabetes, HIV, obesity, anemia, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, infection, uncontrolled asthma, high blood pressure, viral hepatitis, kidney disease, tuberculosis, hyperemesis gravidarum, depression, preeclampsia, advanced maternal age (over 35), particularly young age (under 17), epilepsy, or being underweight, raise the risk of pregnancy and birth complications. In addition, previous premature births or babies with birth defects, substance abuse, and smoking often lead to low birth weight and birth defects, as well as maternal injury or even death. Moreover, multiple birth pregnancies and other complications during pregnancy, including abnormally slow fetal growth, placenta previa, and rhesus (Rh) incompatibility between mother and fetus, increase risk of harm both during and after pregnancy.
Some of the most common conditions affecting the health of mother and baby may develop before or during pregnancy, with the potential to jeopardize the health and well-being of the woman giving birth and her unborn child.
High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy
High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause grave difficulties for mother and child, such as placental abruption, diabetes and preeclampsia. It may also result in premature birth and even neonatal death. Chronic high blood pressure preceding pregnancy and occurring late in pregnancy, referred to as chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension, respectively, elevates health risks. As for preeclampsia, this is a form of late term high blood pressure that may lead to organ failure and other serious complications.
High Blood Sugar during Pregnancy
A woman may have diabetes before getting pregnant or may develop the condition during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes has been on the rise since the beginning of the century. In fact, between 1% and 2% of U.S. pregnancies are at risk with non-gestational diabetes (type 1 or 2) and 6% to 9% of mothers suffer from gestational diabetes. Regardless of the specific type of diabetes involved in a particular case, this condition increases blood sugar, which raises the risk of having a premature, stillborn, or disabled baby. High blood sugar affects the developing fetus from conception onward.
Gestational diabetes arises when normal pregnancy hormonal shifts affect the body’s ability to use insulin to regulate glucose, leaving too much sugar in the bloodstream. Unchecked gestational diabetes creates dangers to the baby and the mother, as the baby grows too large and the mother may not be able to deliver the baby without rupturing her uterus, suffering genital tears or enduring an internal hemorrhage. The baby is likewise at risk for birth injuries, such as brachial plexus injury, shoulder dystocia, lack of oxygen which may lead to brain damage, and broken bones. Other postpartum complications include newborn respiratory distress, overproduction of red blood cells, and hypoglycemia, among other conditions. Other effects of diabetes may include caesarean birth, obesity, and type 2 diabetes for the baby. With diabetes, like all maternal conditions, diagnosis and proper treatment is critical.
Multiple Birth Pregnancy
Women with multiple births are also at higher risk for preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, abnormal placenta, severe nausea, vomiting, excessive bile in the liver, polyhydramnios, miscarriage, twin twin transfusion syndrome, postpartum hemorrhage, and premature birth. In fact, twins and multiple births babies are very often delivered prematurely or by cesarean section. And premature babies suffer more respiratory problems, jaundice, brain damage, infections, and intestinal defects. They are also more prone to have cerebral palsy than full-term infants born in single births.
Being overweight or obese may also lead to high blood pressure, along with diabetes and preeclampsia. Obesity often results in delivery by cesarean (C-section), due to prolonged labor or an oversized baby. Fetal macrosomia, which refers to newborns larger than 8 pounds, 13 ounces, frequently results from obesity during pregnancy. Thus, the likelihood of a forceps delivery is also greater with obesity, potentially resulting in injury to mother and child. Unfortunately, device-assisted deliveries by forceps or vacuum extraction risk newborn brain damage and other injuries by forceful extraction of the infant’s head.
Older Pregnant Women
Another risk factor which places a woman in the high risk pregnancy category is known as advanced maternal age. This requires special monitoring for genetic birth defects such as Down Syndrome, as well as pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. With older mothers, specifically those above age 35, doctors should be prepared to manage and prevent premature birth, still birth, cesarean delivery, and miscarriage.
Mental Health Issues
Finally, pregnancy can affect mental health. For instance, depression, typically characterized by low mood, loss of appetite, feelings of low self-worth, shame, guilt, or suicidal thoughts that persist longer than two weeks, can endanger both the mother and her baby. Further, pre-pregnancy depression makes it more likely that postpartum depression will occur, which can threaten the health or survival of mother and child. History of depression is important to discuss with a doctor before getting pregnant, and it is vital for doctors to work with pregnant women and mental health providers to ensure overall well-being.
Medical Negligence with High Risk Pregnancy
High risk pregnancies demand preparation, prevention and professional oversight. Before getting pregnant, a woman should report her health history and work with her doctor to monitor her blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as other lifestyle habits that contribute to the overall health of the mother and child. If underweight before pregnancy, a doctor often prescribes prenatal vitamins with folic acid, not only to protect against birth defects, but to bolster the future mother’s health. Doctors should monitor blood pressure, sugar levels, medications, and other conditions that may arise before and during pregnancy, as well as continue to monitor signs of potential problems affecting the mother or fetus. Most importantly, doctors should run tests throughout pregnancy to detect complications early. For example, ultrasound may be used to gauge fetal heartbeat or determine cervical length, which assists with anticipating preterm labor. In addition, lab tests may be necessary to detect urinary tract infection or sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. Doctors may also perform DNA screening to identify potential birth defects, along with non-stress tests and amniocentesis.
If complications or pregnancy related conditions are detected, physicians must respond immediately and appropriately to best manage the situation moving forward. When high risk pregnancy exists, doctors must also thoroughly plan and prepare for a successful delivery. In some cases, a pre-planned and scheduled C-section is the best course of action. Even if a cesarean is unplanned, medical professionals must be prepared to order and perform an emergency C-section whenever necessary, particularly when the fetus is in distress. Failure to execute in any of these vital areas, whether through inadequate testing, failure to diagnose high risk pregnancy, negligence with regard to delivery, delayed performance of a C-section, or if other errors occur, healthcare providers may be held accountable through litigation for medical malpractice.
Injured during High Risk Pregnancy in NJ? Contact us Now
If you or your baby suffered injuries caused by mismanaged or undiagnosed high risk pregnancy, it is highly advisable to know the legal options available to you. Our New Jersey medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys have extensive knowledge in this highly complex area of practice and we are thoroughly prepared to assist you. Get answers to your specific questions and have your concerns addressed today by contacting our office at 973-435-4551. Consultations are available anytime and always provided free of charge.