Multiple Pregnancy Malpractice
New Jersey Attorneys for Babies and Mothers Harmed by Medical Negligence with Twins and Multiples
A pregnancy holds all the mystery and joy of the future person who will inhabit your heart for a lifetime, so imagine double or triple the happiness with twins or triplets. Not only is a multiple pregnancy most often a surprise, but also a cause for concern when your doctor informs you about some of the potential complications that come with that genetic wonder of multiple or split embryos implanting in the uterus. Pregnancy is full of challenges, but multiple pregnancies come with even more than you would expect. A medical provider must have the requisite knowledge and experience of multiple birth pregnancy, labor, and delivery to help you avoid the dangers inherent in carrying more than one fetus safely to term. Failures on their part can be far more than unfortunate, with consequences ranging from serious injuries, to lifelong medical conditions, and even maternal or fetal death.
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What Multiple Pregnancy Means
A multiple pregnancy occurs when more than one egg is released via the fallopian tubes during menstruation, each of which is then inseminated. The fertilized eggs grow in the womb as either identical twins, triplets or more if one fertilized egg produces two or several embryos. Fraternal twins, triplets, or others result when more than one egg is released, fertilized, and implanted in the womb. Multiples are common when a woman undergoes fertility treatment with drugs or in vitro fertilization, increasing the likelihood that more than one egg is released and fertilized, which is also more likely if she is over 35. Regardless of these known risk factors, parents are often surprised once that first ultrasound to check on the pregnancy progress finds more than one baby is in the making.
Types of Multiple Pregnancies
Once discovered, your physician may schedule another ultrasound to confirm chorionicity and amnionicity, which means your technician is looking for independent chorion and amniotic sacs for each fetus. The chorion and amniotic sac are responsible for nourishing and protecting the babies in the womb. Most identical and fraternal twins have separate chorions and placentas. Identical twins typically share a placenta but may have separate amniotic sacs and chorions, or share a chorion, amniotic sac, and placenta. Those fetuses that share placentas and chorions are more prone to problems, like blood exchanges between twins leaving one twin without enough blood and the other with too much. Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) can have devastating effects on the fetuses, like umbilical cord problems that lead to c-section birth. In fact, multiple babies are commonly born by cesarean section. When this situation is present, an ob-gyn or other doctor must be prepared for an emergency surgical delivery.
Managing the Risks of Twins and Multiples is Critical
Luckily, monochorionic-monoamniotic (shared chorion and amniotic sac) twins are rare, and many multiple pregnancies proceed similarly to single pregnancies. The same good practices hold true for multiple and singleton pregnancies: eating right, exercising, and being careful to avoid certain foods and harmful chemicals, for example. However, multiple pregnancy may result in more of everything typical of pregnancy: morning sickness, breast tenderness, and weight gain. A woman carrying more than one fetus is encouraged to eat more, about 300 calories per developing baby. And while light exercise is encouraged, any number of pregnancy issues may impede exercise. One unfortunate increase is the risk of complications, which requires your doctor’s, nurse’s, and medical team’s extreme vigilance. Due to the various problems that may occur, physicians must monitor twins and multiples pregnancies closer than even a typical single pregnancy. When carrying multiple babies, your doctor or midwife may want you to come to the office for monthly ultrasounds after the first trimester or to take tests to verify your health and the health of your babies.
Complications of Multiple Pregnancy
Your healthcare team should be on the lookout for signs of preterm labor and delivery, a typical complication of multiple pregnancy. In fact, over 50% of twins deliver early, and nearly all triplets are born premature. If your babies are born early, they may suffer several health problems, especially if they are younger than 37 weeks. Fetuses that do not reach 37 weeks’ gestation most often suffer from breathing problems, as their lungs do not completely develop. They may have difficulty eating and regulating their body temperature. Some prematurity health problems lead to serious conditions, such as cerebral palsy. Later in life, premature babies may develop cognitive disabilities and deficits that require medical attention throughout their lives. Tragically, most babies born before 32 weeks do not make it. Other health challenges one or more of the babies may face is growth restriction caused by infection or other complications, and genetic screening tests are less accurate with multiple pregnancies, so genetic defects in one or more fetuses may not be detected early.
For expectant mothers, pregnancy dangers are more frequent and serious for those carrying multiple fetuses. One such potential risk is a second-term high blood pressure condition called preeclampsia that can lead to seizures, known as eclampsia. Both conditions may result in maternal organ and brain damage and the babies’ premature birth. Multiple pregnancy also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, which can lead to post-pregnancy type 2 diabetes and leave the babies with respiratory difficulties and unregulated blood sugar. Further, multiple fetuses always require increased vigilance to abnormal birth presentation. Mothers carrying multiples or those who are at risk for abnormal fetal position should be informed of the risks and procedures necessary to deliver the baby or babies safely, including manipulation to turn the baby or babies, if possible, instrument-assisted birth or cesarean birth, among other possible treatment options. After delivering the children, it is important to be aware that mothers of multiples also suffer postpartum depression more often than mothers with single births.
Medical Malpractice with Multiple Pregnancy & Birth
Although many multiples are delivered by cesarean section, twins may deliver vaginally if the babies are healthy, developed enough, and positioned properly, when labor is proceeding normally. Another important success factor is your healthcare team’s experience delivering multiple babies. Without the necessary experience to know the risks, possible complications, and sufficient monitoring throughout the pregnancy, from the first ultrasound to labor and delivery, a healthcare provider’s mistakes could lead to costly financial, emotional, and psychological injuries to the mother and babies. Malpractice with twins and multiples can even lead to death.
Since prematurity and c-sections are likely, the obstetrical team must balance the effort to safely prolong the pregnancy to improve survival changes of the babies against the mother’s health and safety. They must be prepared to make quick, critical decisions to prepare for and ensure the babies’ survival outside the womb and rush them to the neonatal intensive care unit for life-sustaining treatment whenever necessary. One misstep could mean irreversible damage, as several lives are hanging in the balance.
Talk to a Lawyer if You or Your Child was Injured by Negligence with Multiple Pregnancy in NJ
If you or your babies require prolonged medical care due to the mistakes of your healthcare providers when diagnosing or managing multiple pregnancy or birth, you have recourse. With the help of a skilled New Jersey medical malpractice and birth injury lawyer at Fronzuto Law Group, you can pursue top compensation to provide for your and your family’s needs now and in the future. We fight ardently on behalf of mothers and children injured by pregnancy and birth malpractice throughout New Jersey and if we proceed with representing you, our team will do everything that we can to achieve maximum damages so that you can maintain the most healthy and high quality of life for you and your babies. Receive a free consultation by contacting us at 973-435-4551 today.