Recognizing the Signs of Poor Maternal Health Care

Here in the United States, we’re used to assuming that our healthcare system is one of the most technologically advanced and effective systems in the world. However, for expecting mothers, the risks of injury and mortality at a hospital may be far greater than they realize. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found in recent years that women in the United States are more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes than women in any other developed country.

In spite of our advanced healthcare system, American medical professionals routinely neglect the needs and requests of pregnant mothers, leading to a death toll of more than 700 women every year, and more than 50,000 maternal birth injuries. That’s a maternal death rate of 26.4 per 100,000 – a higher rate than in Germany, France, Japan, England, and Canada combined.


Although the CDC and other agencies are now actively monitoring the maternal death rate at U.S. hospitals, many more prospective and pregnant mothers will likely face the effects of doctor negligence before this dangerous trend has been reversed. If you’re planning a pregnancy or preparing to give birth in the near future, you’ll need to know the signs of negligence so that you can protect yourself, and take action if needed.

Maternal birth injuries are often caused by the following types of physician negligence:

  • Failure to check for high blood pressure. Although a standard blood pressure check is enough to confirm that a patient has returned to normal levels after childbirth, doctors routinely miss signs of high blood pressure in mothers. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other major heart problems.
  • Performing unwanted and unnecessary C-sections. Many mothers will tell you that a doctor performed an “emergency C-section” that caused endless complications, despite their clear and explicit wishes – and against the advice of past doctors. Often used as a metric for how hospitals treat maternal patients, an unwanted C-section could be a sign that your doctor was looking to save money and time rather than provide you with quality maternal care.
  • Failing to spot excessive bleeding and hemorrhage. It’s a simple matter to calculate maternal blood loss after delivery, but many mothers experience severe post-birth blood loss, often continuing until organ shut-down takes place. If it happens to you, your doctor may be liable for damages.
  • Allowing for excessive vaginal and perineal tearing. When a doctor has been negligent during delivery itself, birthing mothers may sustain serious tearing injuries to their entire vaginal and perineal region, requiring multiple additional surgeries and months of painful, slow recovery.
  • Failing to treat preeclampsia prior to birth: Preeclampsia is a serious and potentially fatal condition that may occur around 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is marked by high blood pressure and liver or kidney damage. When doctors don’t perform the necessary checks and catch preeclampsia in time, they can often be held liable for your injuries.

If you’re injured after delivering your baby, or feel that your doctor failed to meet the standard of care throughout your pregnancy, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP. We have more than 130 years of combined experience helping injured mothers fight back when they’ve experienced painful injuries from easily preventable pregnancy conditions.

Contact us at 800-568-5330 for a free consultation with our highly-awarded trial lawyers in Kentucky and Alabama.

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