November is Prematurity Awareness MonthAccording to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2016 about 1 in10 infantsborn in the United States was born prematurely. Any birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered a premature birth. Premature birth can cause significant health issues for an infant and can sometimes be prevented with proper medical care.

Why is Premature Birth Dangerous?

During pregnancy, a baby goes through important growth and development. If this process is cut short, there can be a host of health problems for the baby including breathing problems, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, feeding difficulties, and vision and hearing problems. Premature babies are also at an increased risk of death or disability.

Risk Factors for Prematurity

There are several risk factors for premature birth. These factors can be changed or monitored to help reduce the risk, and include:

  • Prior preterm birth
  • A short time between pregnancies
  • Pregnancy with multiples (twins and triplets)
  • High blood pressure
  • Underweight or obese mother
  • Age of the mother (younger than 18 or over 35)
  • Developmental abnormalities of the fetus
  • Abnormalities of the reproductive system such as a short cervix
  • Placenta previa—where the placenta grows in the lower part of the uterus obstructing the opening to the cervix
  • Infection

Premature Birth Due to Medical Negligence

Some premature births are unavoidable, but there are instances where prematurity could have been prevented by medical professionals exercising due care. When a woman has risk factors for premature birth, a doctor should recognize these factors and closely monitor her. If a doctor properly recognizes the symptoms and signs of premature labor, they should act quickly and appropriately to prevent preterm birth by:

  • Placing a mother on bed rest if necessary
  • Prescribing progesterone to help prevent contractions and assist women with a short cervix
  • Performing a cervical cerclage which is a stitch placed in the cervix to keep it closed
  • Administering medications to stop or slow preterm labor
  • Administering steroids to help accelerate the baby’s development.

If a doctor or other medical professional fails to take these necessary steps, they may be held liable for malpractice.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If your child was injured as the result of premature birth, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.