Birth Injuries Caused by Untreated Maternal Infections

Rubella on chalkboard with stethoscopeMost expectant mothers know how important it is to take care of their bodies during pregnancy. Most women take their prenatal vitamins and get the proper prenatal care in order to keep their babies safe. However, sometimes there are medical conditions that could be left undiagnosed and untreated. Maternal infection—whether pre-existing or something that developed during pregnancy—is a medical condition that poses a serious threat for a fetus.

Types of Maternal Infections That Cause Injuries

Some common maternal infections that can lead to birth injuries include:

  • Group B Strep (GBS). Pregnant women will not know they have Group B Strep because there are no symptoms. This is why even healthy women need to be tested for GBS because it can affect anyone. It is a bacterial infection that is found in the vagina, rectal area, or gastrointestinal region and it can be passed to the baby during a vaginal delivery. Sadly, if a mother-to-be isn’t treated for GBS, the infant is at high risk for suffering a birth brain injury, sepsis, and pneumonia.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Many women get urinary tract infections, and pregnancy can increase the risk for developing UTIs because the fetus puts pressure on the kidneys and bladder. Because UTIs can cause serious harm to a mother and her baby, urine tests should be conducted to monitor this type of infection so that the mother doesn’t suffer any organ damage or preterm labor, and the baby doesn’t suffer unnecessary fetal distress.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases. Herpes, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases can be transferred to a baby at birth. If these diseases are not caught early in the pregnancy and treated, a baby can suffer hearing loss, vision problems, breathing difficulties, neurological issues, brain damage, and other injuries.
  • Rubella. If a baby contracts rubella from his or her mother, the mother can suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth, or the baby can suffer serious injuries such as cerebral palsy, brain inflammation, hearing and vision problems, congenital heart disease, and other lifelong problems.
  • Hepatitis B. It is possible that a pregnant woman has the Hepatitis B virus and isn’t aware of it. Sadly, Hepatitis B can be passed along to the baby and cause serious harm, such as liver damage and liver cancer.

Although some women know they have an infection such as herpes, other women have never been tested for certain infections and have no idea whether they have a certain infection that can harm their baby. This is why they put their trust in the hands of their doctors. Generally, doctors conduct tests at certain points during pregnancy to look for infections that can be harmful to a baby. Sometimes, these tests are skipped or the results are missed and a mother-to-be has no idea that she has a certain infection that could be harmful to her baby. 

Maternal infections that go untreated can cause significant harm such as preterm labor, fetal or neonatal death, birth brain injuries, and other serious birth injuries. If you believe your baby suffered a birth injury as a result of a negligent doctor, please Contact Us today online or call us at (703) 591-0067 for a complimentary consultation and learn about your rights to a medical malpractice claim.