Longer Pregnancies Lead to Increased Risk of Stillbirth

A recent study found that pregnant women who continue to carry pregnancies after they reach full term are more likely to experience stillbirth or newborn death. The study analyzed data regarding over 15 million pregnancies and 17,380 stillbirths. Pregnancies that continued past 41 weeks had a greater risk of stillbirths and newborn deaths within 28 days of birth. From 40 to 41 weeks, the risk increased by 64%. The risks of stillbirth and neonatal death increased by 87% in pregnancies that went beyond 41 weeks.

Doctors have long known the risk of longer pregnancies, but the degree of risk hadn’t yet been quantified. Generally, if a pregnancy has gone beyond 41 weeks, labor will be induced. The risk of placental failure as a pregnancy progresses can cause complications. In addition, the increased size of a baby can make delivery more dangerous and difficult. Now that this information has come to light, it should come into play in women’s birth plans and medical care. It may be necessary for pregnancies to be induced earlier than 41 weeks.

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Risks

Medical professionals have an obligation to be aware of the risk of stillbirth and to act accordingly. When a doctor fails to adhere to the proper standard of care, they act negligently. In addition to a longer pregnancy, there are other stillbirth risks, including:

  • Placental abruption
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Preeclampsia
  • Infection
  • Umbilical cord abnormalities
  • Older maternal age
  • Maternal obesity
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Multiple gestation

Medical professionals should closely monitor a pregnancy that presents risks of stillbirth. Failure to control for a risk factor may constitute medical negligence. Mismanaging a high-risk pregnancy or failing to provide appropriate fetal monitoring during labor can, unfortunately, lead to stillbirth or neonatal death.

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or your child has been injured due to medical negligence, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.