Preventable Causes Of Stillbirth That May Lead To Wrongful Death Claims

If the negligence of a medical provider leads to your stillbirth, then you may hold the provider legally liable for your loss. Such cases of negligence usually occur if the medical provider does not take the necessary precautions to deal with a known cause of stillbirth. Here are three examples of these known causes of stillbirths:

Umbilical Cord Abnormalities

The umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta. It supplies the baby with oxygen and nutrients while removing his or her waste products. Umbilical cord complications can lead to different abnormalities, including stillbirth.

A good example is an umbilical cord prolapse, which is a delivery complication in which the cord slips into the vagina shortly before the baby descends into the birth canal. This puts pressure on the cord and reduces the baby's blood supply, which can lead to a stillbirth.

The probability of an umbilical cord prolapse increases with increased length of the cord. An extremely long cord may induce preterm labor, or the baby may come out feet first (breech delivery). These are some of the signs that should spur the attending medical provider to start taking the necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of the baby.

Pre-Existing Diabetes

According to Medical News Today, pre-existing diabetes increases a pregnant woman's chances of having a stillbirth by as much as 4.56 times. This increased risk is attributed to the increased blood sugar and low folic acid. Therefore, your doctor should take appropriate measures to reduce your blood sugar levels. Taking folic acid supplements, as advised by your physician, may also help.


Both viral and bacterial infections also increase the risks of stillbirths. The risk increases whether the baby is directly infected (via the placenta or membranes), or it's only the placenta that is infected. Even a severe infection of the mother increases the risk of a stillbirth because the baby may experience reduced oxygenation.

Here are examples of bacteria commonly associated with stillbirths:

  • Ureaplasma urealyticum – cause a variety of health conditions including urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), pneumonia, and Chorioamnionitis (inflammation of the placental membrane)
  •  Mycoplasma hominus – may cause congenital pneumonia, meningitis, fever, and pharyngitis (inflammation of the tonsils and/or throat).

There are also viral diseases to worry about such as parvovirus infection (a mild rash illness characterized by fever, runny nose, headache, and rashes) and influenza (the flu).

These are just three examples of known causes of stillbirth. The idea is that if something is known to cause a stillbirth, then your doctor should put in place the accepted standard of care to preserve your baby. If this doesn't happen, and your baby dies, then you should consult an experienced wrongful death attorney to evaluate your case.

Note that some states do not allow wrongful death claims for stillbirths. However, even these states do allow related claims such as negligent infliction of emotional distress. Therefore, you shouldn't give up on your quest for legal redress before speaking to a lawyer, like Smith & O'Hare PS Inc.