Still Birth and Is It Medical Malpractice?

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About 1 out of every 115 pregnancies ends tragically, with the baby being stillborn, or being born dead. Unfortunately, sometimes doctors cause these tragic circumstances to occur because they make mistakes or don't provide appropriate care to pregnant women that results in the death of their unborn babies. Learn the risk factors for still birth so that this doesn't happen to you.

Common Causes
As of 2012, doctors don't know exactly what causes still births, which makes it more difficult to prove that malpractice contributed to your baby's death. However, there are a few factors that make it more likely that a baby will be born dead.

* Birth defects. Birth defects are a common cause of infant death, including pre-natal death. If your child's lungs, heart and other organs develop incorrectly, he may not be able to survive being born. 

* Genetic factors. Genetic factors may make it difficult for a woman to carry a baby to the end of her pregnancy. Babies may also be more likely to have fatal birth defects because of genetic factors.

* Poor health of the mother. If the mother has gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or other serious illnesses, the baby might not get enough nutrition in the uterus. This can cause the baby to be born sickly or even to be born dead.

* Complications of pregnancy or birth. The baby may be born prematurely because of complications with pregnancy, which increases the chance that it will not survive being born. Problems with the umbilical cord, such as the baby being born with the umbilical cord around its neck or the cord being disconnected from the placenta before the baby is born, can also lead to stillborn births.

Risk Factors and Still Birth Mistakes
Although doctors might not be able to determine exactly what causes still births, they do know that certain factors put a woman at more of a risk for a stillborn baby. If your doctors knew you had some of these symptoms but didn't do anything to monitor your pregnancy or prevent the risk of a stillborn birth, they may be partially responsible for the birth. These risk factors include:

* Awareness of problems with the placenta or umbilical cord. As mentioned earlier, these types of problems make it more likely that the child will be born dead.
* Awareness that the mother has high blood pressure or diabetes, especially if no effort is made to control these conditions.
* Awareness that the mother smokes, drinks or uses drugs, especially if no effort is made to curb these habits.
* Vaginal bleeding or other symptoms of problems in the uterus.
* Pregnancy lasting longer than 41 weeks with no effort to induce labor
* Mother reports fetus does not appear to be kicking or moving, especially if there is no ultrasound done to check on baby's health.

Contact us immediately if you believe your child's stillbirth was caused in part or in whole by your doctor's negligence. Monetary compensation can't bring your baby back to life, but it can bring you closure and prevent another woman from suffering from the same heartache.

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