What is Chorioamnionitis?
Chorioamnionitis is a bacterial infection that appears either during or before labor. It poses great risk to both the baby and the mother. Failure to timely diagnose and treat this birth injury in a mother and her baby may lead to severe complications.
The complications of Chorioamnionitis include bacteremia, pneumonia, meningitis (an infection that harms the brain and spinal cord), bleeding in the brain and even death to the baby. The cases of death of the mother due to this infection are rare, but the risk of maternal death is also associated with chorioamnionitis.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Chorioamnionitis
The mother having chorioamnionitis may appear sick and have low blood pressure, with excess sweating and clammy skin. However, the mother having a fever is the most important symptom that indicates she may have chorioamnionitis. Clinical signs of chorioamnionitis are:
- Maternal fever
- High white blood count in the mother
- Increased heart rate of the fetus
- Uterine tenderness
Many of these signs may be caused due to other reasons that should be ruled out. For instance, the mother may have fever due to receiving prostaglandins (drug that induces labor), or due to having epidurals. Similarly, the white blood count level generally goes up in pregnancy and even more in labor.
Doctors should consider the above symptoms in their differential diagnosis and perform a test called amniocentesis to rule out chorioamnionitis. It is carried out by removing a little amniotic fluid and culturing it to see if the infection is present. However, not every hospital performs such tests.
Risk Factors for Chorioamnionitis
The risk factors include:
- Premature labor
- Stains of Meconium in amniotic fluid
- Prolonged labor
- Bacterial infections, like urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Compromised Immune status
- Epidural anesthesia
- Group B streptococcus (GBS)
- Internal monitoring of labor
- No previous births
- Numerous vaginal exams
- Obese mother during pregnancy
- Receiving prostaglandin hormone to induce labor
- Short cervix
- Smoking, alcohol or drug abuse
- Water broken for a delayed period
Treatment of Chorioamnionitis
If the symptoms are there with no other potential cause, immediate treatment should be given. Treatment primarily is administration of antibiotics. If the pregnancy is far enough along and the baby does not need more time in the womb, then labor should be induced by vaginal delivery. C-section should only be attempted if the baby is in any danger.
The medical staff should properly monitor the mother and the baby during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Failure to timely diagnose and treat chorioamnionitis is negligence. The physical and emotional consequences of this infection can be damaging to the mother, baby and the family.
If you suspect a family member suffered an injury due to chorioamnionitis, seek the advice of an experienced birth injury lawyer. The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling birth injury cases. Call 315-479-9000 now. Consultations are always free and you will never owe us anything unless we are able to recover compensation for you.