My baby was born prematurely, and my doctor didn't try to stop the labor. Could this cause cerebral palsy?

Yes. A baby is considered full term at about 39 weeks. When a baby is delivered prior to 37- 39 weeks, it is considered premature and poses some significant health risks such as respiratory or breathing problems, brain bleeds or hemorrhages, jaundice, infections, and cerebral palsy (1). It is a doctor’s responsibility to attempt to maintain the pregnancy for as long as possible with the goal of delivery at, or very near to, full-term. This allows the baby more time to fully develop and avoid complications.


Preventing premature delivery

There are a number of treatments that doctors may use in order to delay labor and premature birth. The most common include:

  • Bed rest at home or in the hospital, lying on left side
  • Hydration by drinking fluids or IV
  • Medications to halt labor (e.g. Magnesium sulfate, brethine)
  • Progesterone hormone treatment
  • Medication to help prevent infection
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the baby through tests such as ultrasound, biophysical profile (BPP), non-stress test (NST), amniotic fluid volume index (AFI)
  • Medications to help the baby’s lungs develop faster in case measures to prolong pregnancy fail to prevent preterm birth

Physicians, nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals are obligated to do everything in their power to prevent premature birth. Failure to properly treat or prevent premature birth constitutes negligence. If negligence leads to injury, it is medical malpractice. 


ABC Law Centers

Trusted birth injury attorneys

If you suspect that malpractice occurred during your child’s birth, it is very important to choose a lawyer and firm that focus solely on birth injury cases. ABC Law Centers (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.) is a national birth injury law firm that has been helping children with birth injuries since the firm’s inception. Attorney Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has worked exclusively on birth injury cases since 1987, and most of his cases involve hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh have been consistently recognized for their work in many publications, including  U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers, which also recognizes ABC Law Centers in Best Law Firms.

If your child was born prematurely and diagnosed with a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, the award-winning attorneys at ABC Law Centers can help.  We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy, and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. We have secured numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success. No fees are ever paid to our firm unless we win your case.

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