Understanding Premature Births
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest data, in 2018, 1 in 10 babies in the U.S. were born early. A full-term pregnancy should last about 40 weeks; however, it is considered a premature birth when a baby is born before the 37th week of gestation. While certain factors can increase the risk of premature birth, doctors and other medical professionals may administer medications or other protocols to stop labor from happening too soon. Here’s what you need to know.
What are the Warning Signs of Premature Labor?
Mothers who are less than 37 weeks into their pregnancy should pay attention to their bodies if they experience the following symptoms related to premature labor:
- Backaches (particularly in the lower back area that won’t go away)
- Contractions every 10 minutes or more often
- Menstrual-like cramping
- Increased pressure in the pelvic area or the vagina
- Increased discharge or fluids leaking from the vagina
- Vaginal bleeding
If you notice any of the above symptoms, it’s critical to contact your doctor immediately.
What Treatments are Used to Prevent Premature Labor?
If your doctor has diagnosed preterm labor, they may administer the following to prevent you from delivering your baby too early:
- Medication - Certain medications can stop labor, speed up your baby's lungs' maturity, and prevent infections.
- Surgery - Surgically closing the cervix can stop an early delivery from occurring.
Even if you aren’t already showing signs of premature labor, your risk increases if you have a premature birth history. In this case, your doctor may utilize progesterone shots to prevent preterm birth.
What are the Health Complications Related to Premature Birth?
Preterm birth can lead to the following short-term and long-term complications for a baby:
- Short-term complications may include:
- Breathing issues
- Heart problems
- Brain hemorrhages
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Underdeveloped immune system
- Long-term complications may include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Developmental issues and impaired learning
- Vision issues
- Hearing complications
- Behavioral and psychological issues
How Can You Determine if Medical Malpractice Was a Factor of Premature Birth?
The following could indicate that your doctor or other medical professionals may have been negligent in providing you with the required standard of care:
- Failed to observe the signs of preterm labor.
- Failed to order bed rest when premature labor was apparent.
- Failed to close the cervix with sutures when at risk of early delivery.
- Failed to prescribe proper medications to stop labor.
- Failed to prescribe proper medications to accelerate the development of lungs.
Has Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury? We can Help
If your baby was born prematurely and has suffered a birth injury as a result, you have the right to seek justice.
At Bandas Law Firm, P.C., we understand the life-altering burdens that a birth injury can have on parents. Let us help you recover compensation so that your baby’s future care and medical needs are secured.
Contact us today at (505) 393-6303 to learn how we can assist you.