Newborn and Infant Placental Abruption Injury Lawyers
Placental abruption is a common and serious condition, life-threatening for both mother and baby. The March of Dimes estimates that it occurs in 1 percent of pregnant women, and it appears to be on the rise in the US. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 15 percent of severe placental abruption cases end in fetal death — and the condition is responsible for 15 percent of overall infant deaths around the time of birth. Another 15: studies have shown that perinatal mortality rates in cases of placental abruption are nearly 15 times that of other conditions.
Preterm births, and all their attendant health risks, are also far more likely to result in cases of placental abruption than in all other births — 51 percent of placental abruption cases ended before 37 completed weeks compared with 10.1 percent of all other births. As this condition can emerge any time after the 20th week of pregnancy, it’s of the utmost importance that it is monitored to the highest standard of care.
What is Placental Abruption?
The placenta is an organ that connects the fetus to its mother’s uterus so that it can receive food and oxygen. In normal pregnancies, the placenta stays attached to the uterine wall until the baby is born.
Fetus in utero, between fifth and sixth months. Source: Wikipedia
In cases of placental abruption, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. Most often it occurs during labor, the result of contractions tearing it prematurely. In some cases though, it can occur as early as the 20th week, before the fetus is developed enough to induce birth.
Many times, the cause of placental abruption is unknown. It can result from trauma to the uterus, such as in a car accident. According to Cleveland Clinic, experienced doctors should also pay attention to the following risk factors:
- A prior pregnancy with placental abruption
- A multiple pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Cocaine use
- Pregnancy in an older mother
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms may manifest in different ways. The most common symptom is vaginal bleeding with pain during the third trimester. But sometimes the bleeding will be internal, and doctors must carefully attend to the following symptoms, which may also be mistaken for other conditions:
- Abdominal pain
- Uterine contractions
- Tender uterus
- Severe back pain
How is Placental Abruption Treated?
In cases of mild abruption in the 20th to 34th weeks, careful hospital testing and monitoring is indicated. In some cases, the mother may be kept at the hospital until her pregnancy, but if she has no vaginal bleeding she may be released under close supervision.
Pregnancy might be induced at an early stage if:
- The abruption gets worse
- Vaginal bleeding becomes heavy
- There are signs of fetal distress
Placental abruption, with both external and internal bleeding. Source: Wikipedia
In moderate to severe cases, mothers will usually need to give birth right away. If the fetus is not getting enough oxygen, studies have shown that an emergency C-section should be carried out in 10–18 minutes to run the least risk of birth injuries like hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
If the bleeding is very heavy, the mother may need a blood transfusion or, rarely, a hysterectomy.
The Dangers of Placental Abruption
When an abruption occurs, immediate medical intervention is often necessary. Placental abruption accounts for 12 percent of all stillborn deaths and 1–5 percent of maternal deaths. It can also result in the following:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Maternal blood loss
- Blood clotting issues
If the fetus is deprived of oxygen as a result of hypoxia, the following conditions could result:
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Neonatal encephalopathy
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Neurological disorders
When to Consult with an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney
With birth injuries stemming from placental abruption, the best course of action is to consult with skilled attorneys like those at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt as soon as possible. With 30 years of experience in cases of birth trauma, McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is well suited to evaluate the situation and help determine if the injury suffered involved acts of medical negligence or professional malpractice. All birth injury claims are handled on a contingency basis.