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Undiagnosed Pregnancy Complications Can Threaten Mom And Baby

Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are on the rise according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). From 1999 to 2009 (the most recent compiled data from the CDC), heart attack, breathing problems, blood clots and kidney failure during childbirth had risen by 75 percent. Post-partum complications doubled during that same time period.

Treatable and manageable pregnancy complications are not rare in the United States, but serious complications that can threaten the life and health of both mom and baby affect about 50,000 expecting mothers each year.

When doctors recognize and properly handle a problem during pregnancy, childbirth may proceed normally. However, when pregnancy complications are not diagnosed or treated, grievous outcomes can occur for both mother and baby.

Recognizing And Treating Common Issues During Pregnancy And Childbirth

Some of the more common complications that occur during pregnancy include preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm labor and a near-term fetus in breech position. The Wall Street Journal reports that an increase in some pregnancy complications may be due to a changing demographic among mothers, that includes increased maternal age, obesity or chronic illnesses. Without doubt however, pregnancy and childbirth is a miracle; no one is immune from the potential for complications.


According to the American Pregnancy Association, untreated preeclampsia can lead to outcomes including liver or renal failure, dangerously high blood pressure and maternal death. The only true cure for preeclampsia is delivery. Depending upon how far along the pregnancy has progressed however, this may not be best for the baby.

With timely diagnosis, eclampsia is preventable. Bed rest and other non-invasive treatment options are available to give a developing baby more time in the mother's womb before delivery and to protect the life and health of the mother.

Gestational Diabetes

Another common pregnancy complication is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can be diagnosed and confirmed by simple blood tests after drinking sweetened beverages. Untreated gestational diabetes can lead to preeclampsia.

The American Pregnancy Association advises that patients suffering from gestational diabetes undergo careful monitoring throughout the pregnancy to achieve the best possible outcomes for both the mother and the baby.

Breech Presentation At Birth

A breech birth occurs when a near-term baby is not positioned with their head pointed down toward the birth canal. This could mean that the baby is positioned vertically with their feet down or in a sitting position with their bottom positioned closest to the birth canal.

Doctors can determine if a baby is positioned incorrectly during the later stages of pregnancy through abdominal manipulations, vaginal exams or sonograms. When discovered early enough, babies can sometimes be repositioned manually. If not discovered until active labor has begun, mothers with breech babies are often advised to undergo a Caesarean (c-section).

Full Disclosure Of The Risks Of Pregnancy Complications Is Needed

Whether a mother has preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or a breech-positioned baby, the advice she may receive from her healthcare provider should include a discussion of whether a vaginal birth is still appropriate or whether a c-section is warranted. Your obstetrician should be able to answer your questions about the risks and benefits of both a vaginal and C-section delivery, based on your unique circumstances, so that you can make an informed decision.

If you believe that you or your baby may have suffered from untreated or mistreated complications, an attorney who specializes in pregnancy and birth issues can provide you with the advice necessary to make decisions about your personal circumstances.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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