Why Medical Care Is the Difference Between Life and Death for Pregnant Women


Women depend on health care providers before, during, and after pregnancy. For many women, the care they receive can be the difference between a healthy pregnancy and a pregnancy-related death. This is especially true for women of color and women over 35. Regardless of your gender or ethnicity, however,medical malpractice connected to pregnancy could put you and/or your child in grave danger.

Before Pregnancy

Pregnancy-related deaths may be caused by health conditions women have before pregnancy. Growing a new life creates many changes in your body, many of which can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Before you get pregnant, your doctor should treat any conditions you have, evaluate all the medications you are taking, address your health concerns, and educate you on how to protect yourself from infections with vaccines, like the flu shot. Your provider can also help you quit harmful habits, like smoking and drug use, and develop healthy ones, like eating right and exercising. Together with your healthcare provider, before becoming pregnant, if possible, you should be in your optimal state of health.

Most importantly, your doctor should advise you of any risks associated with a potential pregnancy. This can give you the power to make an informed decision or the time you need to make changes before getting pregnant. Addressing your level of risk for complications during pregnancy can help you and your doctor take steps to prevent it.

During Pregnancy

Regular checkups are essential to a healthy pregnancy. During these checkups, your doctor should ask you about your health and keep an eye out for complications. If your provider overlooks a condition or potential risk factor, you could have a more complex birth and/or a heightened risk of pregnancy-related death.

Be sure to communicate everything you’re feeling and be vocal if something doesn’t feel right. Errors in communication are a leading cause of injury and/or death from medical malpractice.

During Birth

Life-threatening conditions can occur during and immediately after childbirth and may cause pregnancy-related deaths. There are numerous potential causes of life-threatening conditions that your healthcare provider must identify in order to avert a catastrophic outcome for mom and/or baby. The causes of maternal death during childbirth include such conditions as postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding), stroke or heart attack, and embolus to name just a few.

After Pregnancy

After you have given birth, keep an eye on your health and tell your provider right away if you have symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness, nausea or vomiting
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe headache
  • Swelling in the legs, hand, or face
  • Depression

Don’t be afraid to call 911 if something feels seriously wrong.

Have You Lost a Loved One or Suffered a “Maternal Near-Miss?”

If the mother of your child or your wife, daughter, or sister passed away during or after pregnancy, you may want to look into the circumstances of her death and find out if it could have been prevented.

At the Law Firm of Michael H. Bereston, our attorneys can uncover any medical errors that may have caused or contributed to your loved one’s passingand help you hold negligent providers accountable.

For every woman that loses her life, an additional 100 women suffer from a maternal near-miss or severe maternal morbidity (SMM). This occurs when women have unexpected and severe complications from labor and childbirth that cause serious short- or long-term health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you nearly died during or after pregnancy, a medical error was likely involved.

For justice in either scenario, look no further than our firm. Our attorneys can be reached at (410) 220-6581 and offer free consultations to help you get started – schedule yours online today.