This May, educate yourself about strokes, especially those that can happen to mothers and /or infants around the time of pregnancy, birth and delivery.
What is a Stroke?
A stroke is a brain injury where blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted. When this happens, brain cells begin to die. There are two types: ischemic (due to lack of blood flow) and hemorrhagic (due to bleeding).
Can Expectant Mothers Be at Risk for Stroke?
Yes, there are some cases where expectant mothers can be at risk for stroke. Usually, this is when a mother has very high blood pressure, especially in the case of preeclampsia (where a mother develops very high blood pressure during gestation when she did not have it before). This high blood pressure is dangerous to both mother and child, as preeclampsia can develop into seizures and possible stroke in the mother during delivery.
Can Babies Be at Risk for Stroke?
Babies can experience fetal strokes around the time of delivery. Even if babies do not experience fetal strokes, maternal strokes can affect and compromise the health of babies. When babies do have a stroke, certain signs may be present, including seizures, apnea and feeding issues. In other cases, they may not have any external signs (other than EEG abnormalities). There are several factors that predispose babies towards having a stroke. If any of these are present or suspected, the baby should be closely monitored:
- If the baby has hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE and stroke can occur together.
- If the baby suffered birth trauma due to improper instrument use or improper drug use
- If the baby’s mother had preeclampsia or premature rupture of membranes (PROM) (which can lead to prenatal infections that can result in fetal stroke).
- If the baby’s mother had gestational diabetes
- If the baby’s mother had a placental abruption
- If the baby has cardiac disorders or blood disorders
How Can Doctors Lower the Stroke Risk for Expectant Mothers?
There are many things that doctors can do to reduce their risk of maternal stroke – one of these things is properly managing preeclampsia, as preeclampsia can double women’s stroke risk. For a guide to how preeclampsia can be managed with medical care, please see UptoDate’s preeclampsia resource page.
How Can Doctors Reduce the Risk of Fetal Stroke?
One of the most important factors in preventing and treating strokes is proper close monitoring of pregnancy, birth and delivery. Medical staff are trained to identify signs of the condition, and can provide treatments to help avoid or reduce damage.
What Can A Parent Do When a Doctor Makes a Mistake that Injures Their Child?
Medical staff can sometimes make mistakes, even in their professional capacities. When this happens, and a child is injured, parents can turn to legal help for help obtaining their child’s care and support.
The trusted birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers can help families affected by birth injuries caused by the mishandling of strokes. We practice throughout the United States, and are standing by to answer your questions 24/7.
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