When a mother enters preterm labor, the odds that the baby will suffer injury or even pass away during the birth increase. Some preterm labor, when close enough to the due date, is less dangerous, but any significant variance means that doctors have to take special care when assisting with the delivery. There is just no room for error.

One thing that doctors should do is to identify the risk factors in advance. They may be able to identify an increased risk of preterm labor, birth injuries or fatalities, allowing them to act appropriately. Some things to consider include:

● The mother’s ethnicity. For example, statistically speaking, preterm labor happens less often with white mothers than with African American mothers.
● The mother’s age. The perfect window runs from 18 years old to 35 years old. Mothers who are older or younger than that are more likely to have preterm labor.
● The mother’s weight. The risks increase not just with those who are obese but also for those who are underweight.
● The mother’s health conditions. These could include issues like high blood pressure, sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections and many more.
● The fetus’s developmental status. Any abnormalities are a cause for concern.
● When the last child was born. It’s riskier to get pregnant again six months or less after giving birth.

When doctors see these signs, they need to take precautions and work to keep the mother and the child safe. Unfortunately, they do not always do so. A neglectful doctor can allow an unnecessary death of either the infant or the mother. When this happens, it’s important for family members to know what options they have.