Baltimore Birth Injury Lawyers: Premature Rupture of the MembranesNovember 23, 2016
Many women go through their entire pregnancy without any major complications or health issues. Sometimes towards the end of the pregnancy, complications can arise when the membranes of the amniotic sac rupture before labor begins. This is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM), and it can put the baby at risk for a range of health issues. If this happens, it is crucial to seek medical treatment as soon as possible in order to protect the safety of both the mother and the baby. Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers remind parents that they can hold medical professionals liable for negligent acts during delivery. PROM is more likely to occur in women who have experienced the following factors:
- Previous pre-term PROM
- Had preterm labor and delivery in prior pregnancy
- Have a vaginal or uterine infection
- Experiencing vaginal bleeding
- Poor nutrition
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Had a history of cervical surgery
- Experienced overstretching of the uterus from multiple fetuses or too much amniotic fluid
Symptoms of PROM
The main symptom that signals PROM is fluid leaking from the vagina. This can feel like a slow trickle or a sudden gush. What is important to realize is that the baby is susceptible to infection once the amniotic fluid is gone. The following are signs of infection, which must be treated as soon as possible:
- Uterine contractions
- Increased temperature and heart rate
- Uterine tenderness
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- An increase in white blood cells
- Increase in the baby’s heart rate
Diagnosing and Treating PROM
A physician will be able to officially diagnose PROM by testing a sample of the fluid. Using a speculum, the doctor can determine if the fluid is leaking from the cervix. An ultrasound will show whether there is enough amniotic fluid around the baby.
If the pregnancy is full-term, the standard of care is to allow labor to occur on its own. If labor does not start after 12 hours, a doctor may induce the mother. If the membranes rupture before week 34, the doctor may recommend delaying labor if there are no signs of infection. Oftentimes, medications like antibiotics and steroids are administered to fight infection and help the baby’s lungs mature. If PROM occurs before 32 weeks, the recommended treatment is to delay delivery and prescribe steroids. Babies born this premature must be very closely monitored because of the risk of intraventricular hemorrhages and RDS.
Complications from PROM
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PLV): A condition that affects the white matter in the baby’s brain, this injury is more common in premature babies.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): HIE occurs when there is damage to the basal ganglia, cerebral cortex and watershed regions of the brain. It usually occurs in full-term infants, but can affect premature babies as well.
- Chorioamnionitis: This is when the placenta and fetal membranes become inflamed and infected.
- Umbilical cord prolapse: This occurs when the cord enters the birth canal before the baby, depriving the baby of oxygen-rich blood
- Neonatal encephalopathy
- Permanent brain damage
- Seizure disorders
- Developmental delays
- Motor disorders
- Intraventricular hemorrhages, or brain bleeds
- Sepsis, which can cause meningitis
Medical Malpractice and PROM
If a physician or member of the hospital staff does not provide the proper standard of care for PROM, including close monitoring, administering the appropriate medication, or performing a C-Section if it becomes necessary, it is negligent behavior. If the negligence causes the mother or baby to be injured, a medical malpractice claim from a birth injury can be pursued.
Baltimore Birth Injury Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Medical Negligence
When complications arise during a pregnancy causing you or your baby to suffer injuries that could have been avoided, the Baltimore birth injury lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. Our dedicated team will work tirelessly to hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions. We will not stop fighting until we obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of medical malpractice throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.