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Fetal Macrosomia - Claims

High Birth Weight Babies – Birth Trauma

Macrosomia is the medical term used to describe newborns that are large for gestational age eg an usually high birth weight. The presence of fetal macrosomia cannot be confirmed until after the baby is born, however, there are some signs, symptoms and screening methods that might assist in identifying pregnancies that are at risk.

It is important to note that there is a considerable range of normal birth weights and a newborn’s weight can be influenced by many things. For example it is reasonable to expect that a baby born to taller / larger parents is likely to be heavier than a baby born to parents with a slighter stature. However the risk of macrosomia is exacerbated by some genetic, racial and ethnic factors. The risk also increases in cases of maternal diabetes and gestational diabetes and in pregnancies that extend over the usual 40 weeks. Research has suggested that the use of some antibiotics (amoxicillin and pivampicillin) during pregnancy could also be a factor. Despite the recognition of the above factors it is still fair to say that many cases remain unexplained.

What can go wrong?

A large baby can present complications during labour and delivery eg:

  • Head to pelvis disproportion
  • Perineal tearing
  • Increased need for episiotomy
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Shoulder dystocia (essentially this means that the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvis – this can lead to the baby’s collar bone being fractured and to nerve damage in the baby’s arm)

You might have a claim for compensation in relation to inadequate medical care that you or your baby received.

Examples of sub-standard maternal care:

  • Failure to monitor the weight and blood sugar levels of a pregnant women who is known to be a diabetic
  • Failure to recognise and treat gestational diabetes
  • Failure to recognise head / pelvis disproportion
  • Failure to recognise and respond to excessive bleeding during and after delivery
  • Failure to recognise the need for a caesarean delivery
  • Failure to take appropriate action to protect and repair the perineum

Examples of sub-standard newborn care:

  • Failure to follow the recognised procedure for shoulder dystocia required
  • Failure to recognise a fractured clavicle (collar bone)
  • Failure to recognise and treat respiratory distress
  • Failure to recognise and treat newborn jaundice
  • Failure to support the baby’s blood glucose level. (It is important that the blood sugar level of babies that are large for gestational age is supported preferably by feeding)

How a solicitor can help you

If you have received medical care that you feel put you or your baby at unnecessary risk it may be that you have a medical claim against the hospital or professionals involved. With the right advice and support you can make an informed choice and decide if this option is right for you.

Members of our medical negligence team have worked in the medical profession and will be able to discuss your options with you and highlight the benefits of pursuing a claim as to how it could help you moving forward with your new family.

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