Maryland Injuries from Prematurity Lawyer
While women are typically pregnant for nine months, babies can be born at any time. Whether or not they will survive, though, is another story.
A full-term pregnancy is generally defined at 39-40 weeks. When a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is considered to be premature. Prematurity happens in roughly 10% of pregnancies in the United States. The earlier the baby is born, the more serious the risks to the baby.
When a baby is preterm, their body is not fully developed. Their hearts, lungs, and other organs may not be ready for life outside of the womb. Their blood vessels are fragile. Because their bodily systems are so immature, they are prone to developing jaundice, oxygen deprivation, infection, and trauma. These conditions can lead to cerebral palsy.
This is why doctors should make efforts to prevent a baby from being born preterm. However, this is not always possible. Sometimes a premature birth is necessary, such as when the mother’s health is at risk. When this occurs, the baby needs to be monitored very closely so that they can grow and develop outside of the mother’s womb. The experienced Maryland injuries from prematurity lawyer at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman can help you understand your legal options.
Levels of Prematurity
When a baby is born before 37 weeks, it is considered preterm. However, there are four levels of prematurity:
- Extremely preterm: Born before 25 weeks
- Very preterm: Born before 32 weeks
- Moderately preterm: Born between 32 and 34 weeks
- Late preterm: Born between 34 and 36 weeks
Preterm birth can lead to numerous complications, including the following:
- Brain bleeds. Medically known as intracranial hemorrhages, brain bleeds can be caused by physical trauma during labor and delivery. One example is when the baby’s head gets stuck in the birth canal.
- Cerebral palsy. Bleeding in the brain can contribute to a lack of oxygen. This can result in serious developmental issues such as cerebral palsy.
- Infections. When the mother’s water breaks prematurely, the vagina or uterus can develop an infection. This infection can travel to the baby. Common infections include herpes simplex virus, encephalitis, sepsis, and meningitis.
- Respiratory distress. Preterm babies often have difficulty breathing due to respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). When this occurs, the baby’s lungs are too immature to produce enough surfactant. Surfactant allows the lungs to expand properly. Surfactant therapy can reduce respiratory problems.
- Low blood sugar. Babies need glucose for energy. The brain depends on it for fuel. When blood sugar drops, brain cells start to die. This can lead to brain damage and cerebral palsy.
Contact Our Maryland Office Today
Ideally, a mother will carry a baby to full term. When it is born too early, it is not fully developed and the risk of complications increases.
If a doctor caused your baby to be born premature and develop serious complications, you may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call our Maryland office at (410) 567-0800.