Placenta Previa and Hypoxic Brain Injury

April 25th, 2017

Placenta previa occurs when the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the cervix.  When this happens, the placenta is lying between the fetus and the birth canal, effectively blocking the baby’s delivery. Although placenta previa is quite common in the early weeks and months of pregnancy, it typically resolves as the pregnancy progresses and the placenta moves up and away from the cervix as the uterus expands.

However, placenta previa does not always resolve itself. It affects about 1 in 200 births, at which time it can create the risk of severe bleeding (hemorrhage) in the mother and lack of oxygen to the baby (hypoxia). When placenta previa is present near the end of pregnancy it almost always requires cesarean (c-section) delivery of the baby.

Placenta previa should always be suspected when bright red vaginal bleeding occurs during pregnancy, at which time an ultrasound should be ordered and the condition can be diagnosed by the ultrasound images.  If ultrasound confirms placenta previa is the cause of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, the proper course of treatment is to admit the patient to the hospital for monitoring and bedrest. If the bleeding does not stop, or if the fetal heartrate monitor indicates the baby is in distress, the pregnant mother will remain hospitalized and may receive blood transfusions and other treatments until the baby is delivered.

Lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain due to a ruptured placenta previa can cause serious brain damage. Birth asphyxia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy are brain injuries that are caused by oxygen deprivation. The treatment for these complications is limited due to the fact that most brain damage is permanent.

Our experienced attorneys fight for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the negligence of others.  If you would like to discuss your family’s potential claim arising from a placenta previa birth injury, the attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination. For a free consultation, please call us at 1-800-YOSTLAW.