The Difference Between a Miscarriage and Stillbirth is Purely a Scientific Term

Los Angeles Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Approximately 1 on every 160 births in the United States is a stillbirth. A stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby’s life after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and most stillbirths occurring prior to delivery. Prior to 20 weeks, your loss may be referred to (medically) as a miscarriage, which, to many women seems dismissive of their loss.

Jay Iams, a professor of maternal and fetal medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center and author of an essay published in the JAMA, believes that dividing miscarriages and stillbirths at 20 weeks is counter productive to research and to finding better solutions to help more women have full-term pregnancies.

For some time now, the medical profession has used a 20-week threshold to study and define the loss of life during a pregnancy based almost exclusively on whether or not a fetus could survive outside the womb if delivered. Prior to 24 weeks, a baby born early has virtually no chance of survival on his/her own, therefore, babies who die in utero, but who may have had a chance to survive if delivered prematurely are referred to as stillbirths, while those who would not have been able to survive prematurely are referred to as miscarriages.

The problem is that, because of this 20-week marker, pregnant women are more closely monitored for potential complications between 24-32 weeks of pregnancy because the chances of a successful outcome increases than they are during early stages of their pregnancies. A new study has shown, however, that this 20-week marker is not medically in the best interest of science, and certainly does not address the emotional needs of the mother. It also may be doing a disservice to at-risk infants that, with earlier recognition of problems, could be possibly be saved.

…”Infant mortality has continued to drop in the U.S. during the past several decades. But stillbirths—when a fetus dies after 20 or more weeks of gestation—have remained relatively steady—and account for almost as many deaths as those of babies who die before their first birthday. About one in every 160 pregnancies in the U.S. ends in a stillbirth, which adds up to about 26,000 each year nationwide.” Scientific American

For example, approximately 1 in 10 stillbirths is caused by the transmission of a bacterial infection from the mother that can travel from the vagina into the womb, affecting the fetus. Although some of these infections are caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDS) such as chlamydia and mycoplasma or ureaplasma, a fetus can be affected by nonSTDs including group B streptococcus, E. coli, and even influenza. The earlier potential problems are detected, the sooner medical treatment may be sought.

It is important for physicians and moms-to-be to work together as a team early on, and throughout a woman’s pregnancy to reduce health risks to unborn babies, and so that pregnant women understand the importance of communicating with their doctors any illnesses or exposure to illnesses during pregnancy. Early intervention may help prevent stillbirths or complications resulting from maternally transmitted infections, diseases, and conditions that may have a genetic component.

But it really does not matter at what point in your pregnancy you have lost your baby, your loss is real, painful, and can leave you with the same feelings of profound loss as any death can cause. A woman may not only feel a profound sense of sadness over her loss, but may also experience tremendous guilt, blaming herself even when circumstances were beyond her control. It is extremely important for doctors, loved ones, and friends to offer support to any woman who has lost a baby at any point during her pregnancy because the loss is real.

Earlier detection of possible complications may not always affect the outcome of a pregnancy, but it can help prepare a couple for an impending loss, or allow them time to make decisions that may be difficult, but may also allow for greater resiliency in coping with the loss of a baby.

Experienced Los Angeles Attorneys For Compassionate And Aggressive Legal Representation In Birth Injury Cases

Thomas Donahue has handled cases involving children injured at all stages of the birth process. He understands parents’ concerns for their children. He has also seen the progress and results that is possible for some children when they receive treatment and rehabilitation after a birth injury. He wants to obtain the compensation that is necessary so that his clients’ children can have the best outcome possible for their conditions.

He has handled birth injury cases involving injuries to children causing cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. He has also handled cases involving failure to monitor babies and children in a NICU or PICU.

We handle cases involving:

  • Severe injury to the mother or baby.
  • Cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence.
  • Shoulder dystocia.
  • Wrongful death due to medical malpractice.
  • Misdiagnosis and delayed treatment.
  • Hospital, nurse, doctor, anesthesiologist errors.
  • Surgical and post-surgery complications.

$2.4 Million Settlement For Improper Use Of Vacuum In Infant’s Delivery Causing Brain Bleed And Injury

Thomas E. Donahue’s clients received $2,400,000 in medical malpractice case. The case involved a term pregnant woman who was in the hospital and in labor. The labor became complicated when the child failed to descend in the birth canal. The obstetrician attempted, inappropriately, to deliver the child by using a vacuum. The child could not be delivered and a c-section was ordered. The child was born in good condition but his condition quickly deteriorated after delivery and was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The child then started experiencing breathing problems and seizures. The nurse failed to call the pediatrician in a timely manner and when the pediatrician arrived the child had to be intubated (a tube placed in the trachea to help the child breath.)

Investigation and discovery revealed that the use of the vacuum extractor was inappropriate and caused bleeding in the child’s brain. The hospital, obstetrician, and pediatrician settled the case for $2,400,000.