Maternal Infections Commonly Linked to Birth Trauma

Maternal Infections Commonly Linked to Birth Trauma

by / Wednesday, 02 December 2020 / Published in Birth Trauma
Pregnant woman having a blood test.

Infections are a very common occurrence in life. Most people develop one type of infection or another over the course of their lives and very often, they clear up with simple antibiotics and don’t result in any serious, long-term health effects. During pregnancy, many types of infections can also be treated easily, but in some cases, infections that go untreated or undetected can potentially have very serious effects on the baby.

Types of Infections Associated With Birth Trauma

Group B Strep Infections

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria very commonly found in the body and when people have it, they often don’t show any symptoms. But if GBS is transmitted to a baby during delivery, it can cause problems like difficulty breathing, issues with heart rate and blood pressure levels, seizures, discoloration of the skin, sepsis, improper muscle tone, and difficulties feeding. GBS infections can also potentially affect brain development.

The risk of GBS infections tends to be higher in babies born prematurely. Because of the risks GBS infections pose to babies, it’s very standard for expectant mothers to be tested for it during the third trimester. If GBS is found, doctors can take steps to prevent the child from being exposed.

Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is an illness many people experience in childhood, and when it occurs in children, it typically doesn’t come with any negative long-term health effects. But for certain groups of people, including people over the age of 15, unborn infants, and babies under one year old, chicken pox can be very serious, having the potential to cause developmental delays, cognitive disabilities, problems with eyesight, and congenital varicella syndrome (CVS).

Hepatitis B

Testing for hepatitis B is an extremely important part of prenatal care because if a mother has hepatitis B, it can be extremely dangerous if it’s transmitted to the child. Hepatitis B has a very high rate of causing liver damage. There is no cure for hepatitis B and according to the Immunization Action Coalition, about 1 in 4 babies who are infected with hepatitis B die of liver failure or liver cancer as adults.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are another type of infection that is extremely common and generally doesn’t cause any serious health problems. If an expectant mother develops one, it likely won’t directly impact the infant. However, if it’s not treated appropriately, the infection could spread to the kidneys and result in premature labor, which can increase the risks of many types of birth injuries.


If a person has syphilis, there’s a chance that they might not be aware of it until a long time after it was contracted. But if an expectant mother has it, it can cause very serious consequences for the child. Because of this, testing for syphilis is a very routine part of prenatal care. Syphilis can be transmitted to a baby through the placenta or during delivery. During labor, there’s a higher chance that the child could go into distress and the baby might experience problems like hearing and vision loss, neurological problems, and brain damage. In some cases, it can also result in stillbirth or neonatal death. If syphilis is caught early, there’s a chance it could be treated.


Rubella is a lot less common than it used to be, but it’s still important for doctors to test expectant mothers for it early in pregnancy and to administer a vaccine if needed. If a mother happens to contract rubella during pregnancy, the baby faces an increased risk of problems like congenital heart disease, hearing and vision impairment, and brain inflammation.

Help with a Birth Trauma Case

Throughout pregnancy, it’s extremely important for doctors to monitor patients for these types of infections. If a doctor doesn’t ask the right questions or run the right tests, the outcome could be devastating. If your child was harmed by an infection around the time of birth, don’t hesitate to contact a birth trauma lawyer. The sad reality of many birth trauma cases is that they often could have been prevented. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a Michigan-based lawyer who can help answer all of your questions. Even if your child is a few years old, you may still have legal options. Contact us for more help with your case.

Image: iStock / bluecinema