Understand what chorioamnionitis is, what causes it and who is responsible for this condition
Going into labor is an exciting moment for expectant parents. While new parents tend to experience a mix of emotions, they depend on their health care team to help them feel confident as they proceed with the delivery.
Unfortunately, there are times when things go terribly wrong.
Chorioamnionitis is one of the many complications that can occur during labor and delivery. Unfortunately, many parents haven’t heard of the condition until it happens to their family. Learning more about this condition helps you look out for your newborn and know what steps to take if something goes wrong.
What is chorioamnionitis?
Chorioamnionitis is a bacterial infection that can develop before or during labor. The infection occurs when bacteria travels up from the mother’s vagina and enters the uterus, where it can then infect the amniotic fluid and membranes that surround the baby. There are several types of bacteria that can cause the infection; the most common of which are E. Coli and group B streptococci (strep).
What causes chorioamnionitis?
Bacteria is the primary cause of this condition, and anything that can contribute to a vaginal or uterine infection raises the risk of experiencing chorioamnionitis during labor. For example, prolonged rupture of the membranes opens up the possibility of bacteria getting into the amniotic fluid. Prolonged labor, frequent vaginal exams during labor and internal fetal monitoring also raise the risk of developing this condition.
What are the signs and symptoms of chorioamnionitis?
Before the baby is born, chorioamnionitis symptoms are most apparent in the mother. An expectant parent might experience signs of an infection such as a fever and uterine tenderness. Both the mother and the baby may have a rapid heartbeat, and discolored, foul-smelling amniotic fluid may be noted after the membranes rupture.
What are the long-term effects of chorioamnionitis on the baby?
Chorioamnionitis complications can lead to a number of chronic health conditions for a baby and could require them to be admitted to neonatal intensive care. Babies with neonatal sepsis might struggle to breathe at birth, and they may have difficulty feeding.
An infant with this type of infection may also suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. Seizures are also common. Since the condition can cause the baby to be delivered prematurely, they are also at risk for long-term developmental challenges.
Can medical negligence or malpractice cause or worsen chorioamnionitis?
Since vaginal infections are the main cause, physicians must do their due diligence to screen for STDs and group B strep during pregnancy so that they can be treated as soon as possible. Some mothers may not display outward symptoms, which is why doctors should routinely monitor the mother’s and baby’s heartbeats throughout labor.
An increase in the heart rate could indicate that an infection is developing. During pregnancy, a doctor may need to order an amniocentesis test that checks the amniotic fluid for bacteria. A physician may also need to make rapid decisions about how to proceed with delivery if a woman experiences premature rupture of the membranes or struggles to make progress during labor.
The decisions that a doctor makes have a tremendous impact on the outcomes of this type of infection. For example, catching the infection quickly means that the mother and baby may receive antibiotics that prevent some of the more serious complications. Failing to recognize the infection or provide the proper treatment can worsen the effects of chorioamnionitis.
What treatments are available?
In most cases, the best chorioamnionitis treatment for a newborn is to give them antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. If the baby struggles with breathing, then they may need to be intubated and placed on a ventilator until they can breathe well on their own. Babies that struggle with gastrointestinal issues may need to have their glucose levels balanced.
Once the baby is born, their medical team must work carefully to address any issues that develop.
What can you do if your baby is harmed during delivery?
Every newborn deserves the best possible start in life. Infections during labor and delivery are usually caught early enough to prevent serious health problems. With proper care, most babies will fully recover from this infection.
If not, then they could develop sepsis, severe respiratory problems, pneumonia, meningitis or brain damage. Some or all of these conditions can have long-lasting effects on your baby’s health and wellbeing. If your baby is harmed during delivery, you’ll need to take action as soon as possible to hold their medical care providers responsible for their negligence.
Recovering from a traumatic childbirth is difficult, and watching as your baby continues to suffer from poor health is even harder. While you may still be reeling from the effects of what happened, you should consider speaking with someone who can help. Birth injury lawyer Laura Brown is very familiar with the effects of chorioamnionitis in labor on you and your baby.
While you take care of yourself and your newborn, the Brown Trial Firm team can start gathering the facts and evidence from your case to begin a lawsuit that protects your interests. The compensation that you receive from a successful lawsuit can help ensure that your baby gets the best medical care possible, and it can make handling their long-term care more financially manageable.
If you believe that a health care provider’s negligence contributed to your child’s injuries, then reach out to Brown Trial Firm to begin the process of moving forward as a family.
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