Infections and Birth Injury

While the fetus is in utero, the mother’s immune system helps to protect the developing child from infections. Such infections can be caused by a variety of harmful influences, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, and other potentially harmful microscopic organisms. It is the job of trained medical professionals to help pregnant women mitigate the dangers of such infections both during pregnancy and during childbirth.

Common Pregnancy and Childbirth Infections

There are numerous infections which may affect a developing baby, or a newly born child. Some of the more common infections include:

  • Group B Streptococcus – This infection is caused by a bacterium known as Streptococcus agalactiae. It is estimated that up to 15 to 20% of pregnant women carry Group B Streptococcus, and approximately half of babies born to women carrying the bacteria acquire the infection at birth. Newborns who are infected with Group B Streptococcus may suffer from serious complications, including sepsis – which can be fatal.
  • Listeria – Listeria is caused by an organism known as Listeria monocytogenes. This organism can be found in raw meat or fish, soil, water, and other sources. Though pregnant women who are infected with listeria may show no symptoms, the infection may lead to various pregnancy and childbirth complications, including premature birth, low birthweight, and even stillbirth.
  • Bacterial vaginosis – Bacterial vaginosis can develop when bacteria which normally live in the vagina over-multiply. This infection can spread to a developing fetus and cause significant pregnancy complications.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases – Sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can all be transmitted to unborn babies, and babies during the process of birth. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause significant complications including blindness, neurological damage, and even death. Additionally, children can be with infected with STD, such as herpes, during the birthing process.

The Costs of Negligence

In order to ensure that a mother’s infection does not negatively affect her child, medical professionals must take aggressive action in order to treat such infections before childbirth, when possible. When babies are born showing symptoms of infection, it is extremely important that they are treated quickly and thoroughly, in order to give them the best chance of a full recovery.

When medical professionals fail to properly screen and pregnant women and recently born children for infection, the results can be devastating. Symptoms arising from improperly treated, or untreated, infections include:

  • Improper fetal development
  • Neurological impairment
  • Sepsis
  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Death

The Responsible Parties

If you believe that your child’s birth injuries are the result of a failure by your attending medical professionals to properly diagnose and/or treat an infection, you may be entitled to significant compensation to help you and your family cope with your child’s birth injuries.

You should speak with an experienced birth injury attorney immediately. Your lawyer will be able to investigate all of the relevant factors of your pregnancy and birth, help you identify the responsible parties, and seek the compensation you deserve.  


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