Labor Infections

Pregnant women and their unborn children are particularly susceptible to infection during pregnancy, labor and delivery.  Many infections can be passed on to the unborn baby, and can cause serious, lifelong medical problems if not properly treated.

What are the common types of infection during labor and delivery?

Group B Streptococcus:  Group B Strep is a type of bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections, endomyometritis, premature delivery, premature rupture of membranes (ROM), and chorioamnionitis.  It is also related to neonatal sepsis, which can affect between two and three out of every 1,000 babies.  It is the leading cause of infection in newborn babies.

Depending on the age of the baby, the mortality rate is between five and 50%.  It can also cause mental retardation, blindness, hearing problems, seizures, and developmental delays.

A simple test can diagnose Group B Strep, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that these tests be done between 35 and 37 weeks.  When diagnosed, the baby can be expertly monitored and antibiotics can prevent injury.

Chorioamnionitis:  Chorioamnionitis is an infection specific to pregnancy.  It affects the membranes and the amniotic fluid around the baby, and sometimes causes preterm rupture of membranes (ROM).  It can also lead to neonatal sepsis, which if frequently fatal for babies.

Doctors should look for chorioamnionitis when the mother shows signs of fever, elevated white blood count, uterine tenderness, and when the baby’s heart rate is extremely fast.  Diagnosis is best accomplished with amniocentesis.  Treatment often depends on how close the baby is to full term—if the baby is viable, a cesarean section should be considered.  If not, treatment may include intravenous antibiotics.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV):  An infection in the mother, it can transfer to the unborn baby approximately 1% of the time.  Those babies who are born with symptoms of CMV can show jaundice, liver issues (hepatomegaly), problems with the spleen (splenomegaly) and other problems.  Whether symptomatic or not, this infection can cause mental retardation, sensorineural hearing loss, neuromuscular disorders or even death.  There is no known treatment.

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If you or your baby had an infection during pregnancy that caused preterm birth, developmental delays, seizures, vision or hearing problems, cerebral palsy, death or other complications, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or online for a free consultation.

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