Pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant mothers and fathers. While the expectant parents must wait nine months to meet their child, they are given a due date to look forward to. This due date gives new parents time to prepare for welcoming a new child into the world. However, determining due dates is not an exact science. For this reason, it is to be expected that newborn children might not be born on their exact due date.
Typically, doctors predicting a due date that ends up being a few days too late or too early does not automatically put a pregnant woman at risk and is of no concern. That said, significant under- or over-estimations of the due date can put a pregnant woman or the child at risk of severe injuries.
If you suffered injuries from an incorrect due date, seek help from a birth injury lawyer in Chicago right away.
Once a woman discovers she is pregnant, a string of actions begins to take place. There will be many trips to the doctor, sharing news with friends and family, reading different material on what to expect with a newborn, and adjusting to life during pregnancy. During one of the early stage visits during pregnancy, the health care professional will provide an estimated due date of when the child will be born. This due date helps to inform other decisions and progression during the pregnancy.
One of the reasons that it is important that expectant parents and health professionals have an approximate due date is that numerous decisions are based upon that date. It can be expected that the baby’s estimated due date is almost never 100 percent accurate because most women are unaware of the exact date they conceived. Therefore, physicians will often use one of two methods for determining a woman’s due date:
While not all incorrect due dates result in injuries to the mother or child, there are times in which incorrect estimates can cause serious injury or death, especially if they are far from the original estimated due date. Some risks associated with incorrect due dates that estimate a later birth date include:
Some risks associated with incorrect due dates that estimate an earlier due date center around the danger that the baby could be born too early. A baby is not considered full-term until 39 weeks; however, babies have a better chance of survival and fewer complications if they are at least 37 weeks. When a baby is born before the 37-week mark, there is a higher risk for complications. Some complications associated with an early birth include:
In the event that a baby is delivered significantly before or after their estimated due date, many health complications can lead to hospitalization and a need for extended care. An unexpected event such as a long-term stay at the hospital can be challenging for new parents, especially when they are attempting to juggle doctor appointments, work, and other obligations while most likely experiencing a lack of sleep. On top of the overwhelming challenges that come with a newborn child who is dealing with health issues due to an incorrect due date is the stress of determining how to pay for the additional medical bills associated with this care.
If a physician grossly underestimates or overestimates a due date and does not take reasonable precautions to accurately determine the baby’s gestational age, they may be liable for any injuries that occur because of it. If you believe that you are in this situation, it can be difficult to know what your options are. It is advisable to speak with an experienced attorney who can walk you through the process.
Call Malman Law today at 888-746-5015 to discuss your potential medical malpractice case, or fill out an online contact form, and an attorney will be in contact with you soon.