Prenatal Negligence Lawyers in New Jersey
Representing Victims of Medical Malpractice during Pregnancy
When you become pregnant, life changes instantly. Your body begins the process of growing a human life, with increased hormonal activity that prepares for the growth and eventually, the birth of your child. Whether you are pregnant with your first, second, third, or subsequent child, you should know the importance of prenatal care. Checkups with your doctor and/or midwife during your pregnancy promotes good health for you and your baby and may prevent serious complications from occurring. One of the primary reasons for prenatal care is monitoring your baby’s development. To that end, testing and physical exams for possible problems affecting the mother, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, as well as genetic defects and fetal conditions that may require appropriate planning and intervention, can help ensure the safety of you and your child. Addressing concerns and questions about your own health and experiences, as well as your baby’s, is also part of prenatal care and planning. And there is no better time to start planning and prevention than the moment you know you are pregnant, if not before.
While receiving proper prenatal care is vital to a safe, healthy pregnancy, negligence on the part of your OB-GYN or another medical professional can lead to devastating outcomes, including serious birth injuries. When your doctor misses critical signs, fails to order the right tests, or fails to further investigate troublesome symptoms, you and your baby may pay the price. Healthcare providers become busy, make mistakes, miscommunicate, and unintentionally injure patients through neglect on a regular basis. If you and your family suffered injury and have been forced to cope with the damaging effects of negligent prenatal care, our highly experienced team of New Jersey prenatal negligence lawyers can provide critical guidance and assistance with seeking damages. We will review your case for potential medical malpractice, determine your grounds for a lawsuit, and seek the most credible expert opinion on the care you received, a necessity for supporting your successful claim. You may be entitled to full compensation for your or your baby’s medical costs, therapeutic services and equipment, and other economic losses, in addition to damages for the pain and suffering caused by your practitioner’s mistakes. Contact us today at (866)-708-8617 for a free consultation and ensure that your pregnancy negligence or birth injury claim is examined and handled by a knowledgeable legal professional.
Negligent Prenatal Care
Administering regular and proper prenatal care helps to avoid pregnancy complications and many dangerous situations that may arise before or during birth. Unless your pregnancy is high risk, doctor’s visits generally occur every month or so until 32 weeks, when the visits become more frequent, occurring every 2 to 3 weeks. After week 37 of gestation, your OB-GYN should check in every week until your delivery. Pregnancies deemed at risk for complications require more frequent doctor visits. Some markers for high risk pregnancy include age (pregnant women under age 18 or over 35) as well as underlying health conditions that affect the mother and baby’s health during pregnancy and childbirth, such as high blood pressure. It is essential for doctors to identify pregnancies that may be high risk and if necessary, refer the mother to a specialist who can better evaluate, manage, and treat her condition. Failure to recognize high risk pregnancy and risk factors for birth injuries may be considered medical negligence.
First visits entail collecting family medical history of both parents, physical examination, and taking urine and blood samples to check for overall health. Weight, height, blood pressure, breath and pulse are measured. Some doctors conduct a breast and pelvic exam, including a Pap test, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases, diabetes, hepatitis B, rubella, and anemia at this first visit. Coaching on diet, lifestyle and prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid, to give the baby a good start in its early development, along with what to avoid during pregnancy, like medications or other drugs, is an important part of prenatal care.
Follow up visits consist of noting changes in the mother’s medical history, checking urine, weight, blood pressure, swelling, position of the fetus, belly measurement, and fetal heartbeat. The medical provider should discuss genetic testing availability and schedule tests to detect birth defects. Communication about physical and emotional changes between the provider and patient is paramount. Prenatal visits are the time to report to the doctor or midwife symptoms like nausea, vomiting, tender breasts, heartburn, constipation, body aches, fatigue, and sleep problems. In response, the healthcare provider should make recommendations about how to manage symptoms. They may also need to run tests to investigate potential problems. In fact, failing to conduct routine testing can allow serious problems to go undiagnosed and unaddressed.
Failure to Administer Proper Tests during Prenatal Care
One of the most important elements of prenatal care is appropriate testing at the correct time. As your baby enters each of the many stages of development, your obstetrician or healthcare provider should know what conditions to test for and when. Common prenatal tests include ultrasound, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and amniocentesis. Specialized testing may be recommended for higher risk pregnancies and regular ultrasound testing provides key information about the baby’s health and development. An ultrasound or sonogram provides a picture of fetal growth, as well as problems. They are used multiple times during normal pregnancies to estimate the baby’s due date; check the placenta position and amniotic fluid; see the size, position, and heart rate of the fetus; check for Down Syndrome; and check for a multiple pregnancy. CVS tests for chromosomal genetic defects by sampling tissue in the uterus and, like amniocentesis, is recommended for women over 35 and those with a family history of birth defects. Amniocentesis detects birth defects by sampling cells in the amniotic fluid. Both CVS and amniocentesis test for Down Syndrome, but the latter is more accurate for defects, such as neural tube defects of the spinal column and brain.
If your doctor fails to order any of these tests, they may miss conditions that require immediate treatment or a tailored birth plan, such as a planned C-section. Some of the potential conditions that may be missed with inadequate prenatal testing or failing to respond to test results include:
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Gestational Diabetes
- Hypertension and Preeclampsia
- Other Maternal Infections
- Sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV
- Congenital Anomalies and Birth Defects
Failure to Monitor the Mother and Child throughout Pregnancy
Further, it is vital that physicians adequately listen and respond to symptoms that pregnant women may experience indicating a potential problem, such as persistent headaches, swelling, vomiting, vaginal bleeding, blurred vision, dizziness, visual spots, water leaking from the vagina, burning with urination, fever, chills, persistent belly pain, rashes, sores, fainting, labor pains, or decreased fetal movement. Other signs of complications may involve insufficient weight gain and going past your due date. On the reverse side of things, a condition called fetal macrosomia, which involves an overly large baby, may call for a cesarean delivery to prevent labor and delivery complications like shoulder dystocia and fetal distress. Early labor could result in a preterm birth, meaning labor at weeks 20 to 37, which is dangerous to the survival and health of the baby and must be managed appropriately to prevent a host of birth injuries. Moreover, undiagnosed hypertension can lead to preeclampsia, which may ultimately result in premature birth, organ damage, stroke, brain damage, and maternal or infant death.
Overall, it is your doctor’s responsibility to adequately monitor, test, and address possible signs of danger to you and your baby in the course of prenatal care. When medical negligence occurs during your pregnancy, the consequences can involve perilous labor and delivery scenarios and devastating lifelong disability or health problems for you or your child.
Contact Attorneys for Prenatal Injury Victims and Families in NJ
If you or your baby was injured due to negligent prenatal care in New Jersey, you may be able to recover financial compensation. Speak to a seasoned NJ pregnancy malpractice and birth injury lawyer about your specific case by calling (866)-708-8617 now. Our team can help you determine if your injuries or your baby’s injuries resulted from your provider’s negligence administering prenatal care. We provide free consultations and dedicated representation for families like yours.
- Pregnancy Complications, CDC
- Complications during Pregnancy, Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services