Prenatal care is the care your doctor provides to you during your pregnancy. This care is essential to identifying and treating any complications that arise during pregnancy. Prenatal care malpractice is different than birth injury lawsuits.
In the United States, almost 95% of pregnant women report some form of health complication. In the last decade, the rate of severe, life-threatening complications from pregnancy have increased by 27%, bringing the annual mortality number of pregnancy-related complications up to 700. Almost 52,000 women a year suffer emergencies including respiratory distress, heart surgery, or aneurysms during pregnancy, and an additional 34,000 barely avoid death.
Doctors should be attentive to the woman's health during pregnancy, and should be able to spot changes that could result in serious injury for the mother or child. Negligent care is typically not intended, but is the result of human error from fatigue, communication mistakes, or too many patients. But still patients have the right to demand compensation if their doctor has been negligent and has put their own or their child's health in harm's way.
If you believe you or your child has suffered prenatal care negligence, contact us so we can help you understand your rights and options and together discover whether you have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit.
Prenatal Care Malpractice In Baltimore
Prenatal care should start as soon as a woman discovers she is pregnant, and should continue regularly throughout the pregnancy. The prenatal care should include regular doctor visits, proper tests when needed, guidance on food and lifestyle choices while pregnant, and a complete medical history workup to anticipate any complications that could arise. The doctor should closely monitor both the mother's and the baby's progress during pregnancy.
Medical studies show that babies of mothers who do not receive prenatal care are 3 times more likely to have a low birth weight, and are 5 times more likely to die than as a result of undiagnosed complications than babies born to mothers who received proper care.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that pregnant women see their doctors
- About once each month for weeks 4 through 28
- Twice a month for weeks 28 through 36
- Weekly for weeks 36 to birth
During prenatal visits your doctor should:
- Get to know your health history
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Monitor blood and urine samples
- Note weight gain throughout the pregnancy
- Keep track of the baby's growth and note unusual growth patterns
- Monitor the baby's heart rate
- Look out for an ectopic pregnancy (when the egg starts growing outside the womb)
- Identify birth defects
- Conduct pelvic exams
- Be on the lookout for complications like: anemia, urinary tract infections or any types of infection, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes
- Maintain regular ultrasounds of the baby
These are all essential risk-assessment steps for your doctor to take to make sure you and your baby stay healthy throughout the pregnancy.
In addition to these tests, certain complications may call for increased monitoring from your doctor. Signs that your baby may have complications and need further testing include:
- The baby's size is too big or too small
- Placental abruption (when the placenta detaches too early)
- The baby is post term
- Abnormalities in the fetal heart rate
- Decreased movement in the womb
- Abnormal levels of amniotic fluid
- Previous C-Section
- Multiple gestation (like twins)
Some birth complications are incurable, and there may not be any further actions your doctor could have taken to ameliorate the issues.
Many more complications will not be treatable until after birth. Your doctor will need to know as much as possible to determine and provide the best possible care for the mother and baby. The doctor will need to know the health conditions of the mother and child to determine things like if a C-section is necessary, or to determine what kind of care the baby may need after birth.
Parents should keep track of their interactions with their doctor, including what tests were done, when they were done, and how often visits occurred. Your baby's good health starts in utero, and your doctor should do everything possible to give the baby the best chance at a healthy life.
Suing For Prenatal Care Negligence In Maryland
Failing to give adequate care to the mother and child during pregnancy can result in serious health conditions for both. Examples of prenatal care negligence include:
- Failing to diagnose serious conditions in the mother or father that could be passed on to the baby
- Failing to properly monitor the mother or baby and to order the necessary tests
- Failing to diagnose serious complications that arise in the mother or baby during pregnancy
If you believe your doctor's negligence during pregnancy caused serious harm to you or your baby, you have a right to compensation for medical costs and any emotional toll the complications might have resulted in.
Gilman & Bedigian is a highly skilled firm that knows how to best help you with your medical malpractice case. Our medical malpractice attorneys will provide you with the best possible legal guidance, and with a winning track record of recovering millions of dollars for our clients. If you believe you might have a case for prenatal care malpractice in Maryland, schedule your free consultation online or call us to get started.