Most pregnancies run smoothly with trained professionals successfully looking after you and your child through pregnancy and beyond. Sadly, medical professionals do sometimes make mistakes and if they do, you will understandably want to seek answers.

Jane Couch, clinical negligence solicitor at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, explains how antenatal (pre-birth) problems can arise and outlines how you might be entitled to compensation if you or your unborn child are injured as a result.

Types of antenatal injuries

  • Missed or mistreated pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a disorder of pregnancy where the patient suffers high blood pressure . It is a fairly common complication in pregnancy and easy to diagnose through antenatal urine and blood checks. However, it can threaten the life of both you and the baby if it is undetected or not treated properly throughout the pregnancy.

  • Non-diagnosis of gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy – usually in the latter stages. It occurs if your body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the additional needs of pregnancy. Again, this is easily diagnosed and managed through urine and blood tests. If missed, or mismanaged, it can cause problems during your pregnancy and even still-birth in extreme cases.

  • Perineal injury

A common problem for women during childbirth is a tear to the perineum (the region between the vagina and anus). Most tears are unavoidable and easily treatable to limit the damage. However, left untreated or wrongly stitched, such tears can have long term consequences including pain, loss of sensation and incontinence.

  • Retained placenta

It is the task of medical professionals to ensure your placenta is delivered after childbirth. If it is not, or a portion remains in the womb, this can lead to infections which can have devastating long-term effects, including infertility or the need for a hysterectomy.

  • Delivery problems

Sometimes during childbirth complications arise which means your baby is deprived of oxygen and can sadly suffer brain damage. In other cases, the baby gets ‘stuck’ requiring medical professionals to assist delivery using Ventouse or forceps. If carried out incorrectly or with excessive force, these procedures could cause injury to both you and your baby.

How a solicitor can help

If you think that you, or your baby, has suffered an antenatal injury from the medical care you were given, take legal advice as soon as possible. An expert clinical negligence lawyer will scrutinise your case and help decide whether you have a valid claim.

They will refer you to a medical expert to assess your injures and the effect it has had on your life or that of your baby, gather any required evidence – such as medical records and witness accounts – and guide you through the claims process.

You could be awarded compensation for the physical as well as emotional pain and suffering you or your child have experienced, as well costs of any extra treatment, physiotherapy and possible support you might need. Any loss of earnings you suffer as you recuperate will be taken into account, as will your ongoing care needs and future reduced earning capacity if you have been left dealing with a long-term medical condition.

For further information, please contact Jane Couch in the clinical negligence team on 01626 202413 or email janecouch@wbw.co.uk.  WBW Solicitors has offices throughout Devon and into Cornwall.

For all your legal needs, contact WBW Solicitors today.