World Prematurity Day was celebrated on November 17th, 2015. Premature labor remains a major problem in the United States and worldwide, with the March of Dimes announcing that complications of preterm birth is now the foremost killer of young children. Though America is a first world nation in every way, the United States continues to have preterm labor rates more similar to third world countries than other first world nations.
In many parts of the world there is little that can be done about this scourge, but America’s unwillingness to deal with this issue is sobering. Doctors and nurses are still under-trained to diagnose and deal with premature labor, which results in thousands of deaths and defects every year. In fact, hospitals still turn away hundreds of women every year who have already gone into labor.
As it is, it is often up to mothers to self-diagnose preterm labor, and self-diagnosis is always a dangerous game. Still, knowing what to look out for is important. Symptoms of premature labor include:
- Backache, particularly in the lower back
- Cramping, fluid leaking, increased discharge, or bleeding from the vagina
- Increased pressure in the pelvic area
- Flu-like symptoms
Flu-like symptoms are often brushed off by doctors and nurses, but shouldn’t be. Even if an expectant mother isn’t in preterm labor, the flu itself can be extremely dangerous to a pregnant woman, especially if she is entering her third trimester.
Pregnant women are usually counseled to see a doctor if they experience any of these symptoms, but emergency rooms often turn women away. A pregnant woman and those who love and help care for her must be prepared for this reaction, and shouldn’t leave until they feel comfortable that the symptoms are under control.
If you or someone you love suffered due to a missed diagnosis of preterm labor, please contact a lawyer. Premature infants are more likely to suffer from a range of medical, emotional, and educational issues than other babies, and there is often a significant cost to providing the necessary care to children born early. An experienced attorney can help you hold the negligent to account for the missed diagnosis.