An undiagnosed and unaddressed maternal infection during pregnancy can hurt the fetus and lead to serious birth injuries, brain damage, resuscitation requirement, and even fetal death. The infection is generally passed from the mother to the fetus during any trimester of the pregnancy or delivery.
Common Undiagnosed Maternal Infections
Maternal infections are common during pregnancy. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites that enter the mother’s body through numerous ways are responsible for causing these infections. While most of these infections are not harmful when a doctor correctly diagnoses and treats them, if left undiagnosed and untreated they can result in pregnancy complications, serious fetal illnesses, transmissible infections in newborns, birth injuries to babies, and even death of the fetus or infant.
Because of their naturally weakened immune systems, pregnant women are at high risk of infections. These infections can enter the body through contaminated food and water, insect bites, sexual intercourse, airborne droplets, and skin and blood infections. Some infections put both the mother and the fetus at risk, while others put only the fetus in danger.
Common Maternal Infections
Maternal infections spread to the fetus in the course of pregnancy or during labor and childbirth. Some of the frequently occurring maternal infections that birth injury lawyers encounter include:
Viral infections are caused by viruses. They usually result in respiratory complications that can be harmful during the initial stages of pregnancy. They frequently cause anemia, miscarriage, poor fetal development, and birth defects. Rubella, Chickenpox, Parvovirus, and Cytomegalovirus (CMV) are examples of common viral infections.
Bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. They often lead to severe diseases like Salmonella and Listeria and infectious diseases such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Streptococcal disease. On top of serious complications, these infections can result in premature birth, miscarriage, fetal death, and birth defects.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
STIs account for most infant illnesses and deaths worldwide. Pregnant women contract HIV and transmit the viral infection to their babies during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that causes serious neurological disorders and disabilities in infants. Other than the developing fetus, this infection may also harm the pregnant mother if left untreated. A person can contract this infection by handling or consuming raw or half-cooked meat, human or animal feces, or soil infected with Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
Medical Negligence Before or During Delivery
Besides undiagnosed maternal infections, women and babies may suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries due to medical malpractice before or during delivery. Although it is difficult to avoid tragedies during delivery, many pregnant women and babies are harmed each year by fatigued doctors committing medical negligence. Medical negligence happens when a doctor or any other medical practitioner fails to offer the quality of care that other professionals in the same medical community would normally provide.
One of the most common types of prenatal care negligence is the failure to detect and treat dangerous conditions during pregnancy. Childbirth negligence includes prolapsed umbilical cord, brachial plexus injuries, fetal distress, spinal cord injuries, and excessive bleeding after delivery.
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