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.

Seizure Activity in Newborns – Hypoxia

According to the Florida Neonatal Neurological Network about 20 out of every 1,000 full term births will be affected by a lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia) during labor and delivery.  Babies who are born prematurely are at even greater risk, because their lungs are not fully developed and they are unable to fully manage breathing on their own. Hypoxia is the most frequent cause of seizure activity in newborns and can cause additional…

Read More »

Periventricular Leukomalacia in Newborns

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is an injury to the brain which occurs when tissue deep in the baby’s brain, called the white matter, dies away or is damaged.   If a baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen during labor and delivery, the brain cells in the baby’s white matter can die or be damaged.  The patches of damaged or dying brain cells which lead to a diagnosis of PVL can be seen on brain imaging studies,…

Read More »

Birth Injury Due To Placental Abruption

The placenta is an organ that develops inside a woman’s uterus during pregnancy. Once a baby is conceived, the placenta forms to supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby, as well as remove waste products from the baby’s blood. The placenta attaches to the uterine wall, and the baby’s umbilical cord arises from it. In some cases, however, the placenta can separate from the uterine wall, causing the baby to stop receiving an adequate supply…

Read More »

Microcephaly Following Hypoxic Brain Injury at Birth

Microcephaly is a medical condition defined by a small head circumference. It is noticeable as a disproportionately small head for the size of the growing child. There are many different ways this condition can develop, including preventable brain injury at birth, which stunts the growth of the baby’s brain and skull. Acquired microcephaly in very young children can be caused by lack of oxygen during birth. If signs of the baby suffering from hypoxia during…

Read More »