High-risk Pregnancies and What They May Mean for Your Unborn Child’s Health

A high-risk pregnancy is generally defined as any pregnancy in which the risk of pregnancy or childbirth complications is higher than normal. Thus, anything that places a mother or fetus at increased risk for poor health or injury during the mother’s pregnancy or the birth of her child may result in a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis.

Among other things, a mother’s pre-pregnancy health and age as well as certain pregnancy conditions may cause a pregnancy to be seen as high-risk. When a pregnant woman’s OB/GYN negligently fails to detect, monitor, manage, and/or treat these factors, the physician may be found liable in a medical malpractice action for birth injuries determined to have been caused or enhanced by the physician’s negligence.

high risk pregnancy injuryBirth-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience with birth-injury cases, including those arising out of medical negligence related to high-risk pregnancies. If your child sustained a birth injury and you suspect that it was caused by the negligence of your treating physician or other medical professionals, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you and your child have suffered as a result. Contact attorney Killino and his nationally-respected team of birth-injury lawyers and paralegals for more information about your legal options.

When Can a Physician Be Held Liable for Birth Injuries Due to High-risk Pregnancy Conditions?

Several factors may lead to a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis and a treating physician’s liability for birth injuries caused by negligent diagnosis or management of high-risk conditions.

Mother’s Pre-pregnancy Health

A mother’s existing health problems may put the health of her unborn fetus at risk and result in a high-risk pregnancy. Common examples of existing health problems in a mother that may cause a pregnancy to be high-risk include high blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid disease.

A pregnant woman’s untreated high blood pressure can increase the risk of the mother’s preeclampsia and eclampsia, for example. Preeclampsia, which is a sudden increase in the mother’s blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, can affect the mother’s kidneys, liver, and brain and inhibit the blood supply to a growing fetus, thereby reducing the fetus’s oxygen and absorption of important nutrients. A mother’s eclampsia, which may develop from her preeclampsia, can lead to seizures and coma in the mother and resulting injury or death to the fetus. A physician’s failure to diagnose and treat a woman’s high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and/or eclampsia may, thus, lead to the physician’s liability for birth injuries caused by this negligent care.

A mother’s pre-pregnancy diabetes may also increase pregnancy risks and result in birth injuries to a fetus from the mother’s high blood-sugar levels. An OB/GYN’s negligent failure to diagnose the diabetes and/or to manage the mother’s blood-sugar levels may result in the doctor’s liability for any resulting birth injuries. A mother’s uncontrolled thyroid disease can cause injuries to a fetus, including heart problems, low weight, and birth defects, so that a physician’s negligent failure to diagnose and treat the disease may lead to the physician’s liability for such resultant birth injuries.

Mother’s Age

A mother’s age, alone, can result in a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis. Mothers in their teens, for example, are at a greater than average risk of developing high blood pressure, which may result in the same complications and resultant birth injuries discussed above. First-time mothers over the age of 35 are at an increased risk of delivery complications, prolonged labor, and labor that does not progress. An OB/GYN’s negligent failure to monitor and manage any of these conditions or complications may result in the physician’s liability for birth injuries sustained by a fetus as a result.

Pregnancy Conditions

Some mothers may develop gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that occurs as a result of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes that is negligently managed by a physician can result in the mother’s high blood pressure and preeclampsia or preterm labor and/or delivery. Pregnancies with multiple fetuses also increase the risk of birth injuries through premature birth, negligently or untimely performed Caesarian delivery, or twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in some identical fetuses. A mother’s obesity may result in a macrosomic fetus (a fetus of higher than average weight for its gestational age) and a higher risk of birth injuries such as brachial plexus and other palsies or injuries caused by a vaginal birth when the mother’s birth canal is too small to accommodate the large-size fetus. A physician’s negligent failure to diagnose any of these conditions and to properly manage and/or treat them to reduce the chance of injury to a fetus may result in the physician’s liability for resulting birth injuries.

Obtain Expert Assistance from Birth Injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino

Birth-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino and his team of birth-injury lawyers and paralegals are widely known for their dedication to achieving justice for all children who have sustained preventable birth injuries as a result of medical negligence. If your child sustained a birth injury of any kind due to medical malpractice, attorney Killino can help you fight for the justice to which you and your child are entitled from all responsible parties.