Posted on 06/06/2022

What is Chorioamnionitis?

What is Chorioamnionitis?

Pregnancy can cause any number of issues or conditions that you likely haven’t heard of before. It goes without saying that it can be a scary time. 

If you were diagnosed with chorioamnionitis, we can breakdown the diagnosis and all that it entails.

Then we’ll share how you can receive a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney to further determine if you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Chorioamnionitis is preventable and any negligence resulting in birth injuries should be held legally accountable.

What does chorioamnionitis mean?

Chorioamninitis is a severe bacterial infection which originates maternally and can be passed on to your baby if left untreated.

About 2% of full-term pregnancies are affected by the infection whereas 40-70% of preterm pregnancies are affected. While the condition is rare, the risks involved are detrimental.

In the event of a preterm delivery, the risks of injuries increases drastically.  

Chorioamnitis is also known as an intraamniotic infection and occurs during pregnancy before a mother’s water breaks or after they go into labor.

The bacteria germinates in the mother’s vagina or anus and then migrates towards the uterus and infects the amniotic fluid. 

The bacteria can also originate in the uterus if there is a tear or rupture that would allow the bacteria to infiltrate and spread.

While the bacteria is in the mother’s system, the infection will disrupt and damage the exchange of nutrients and oxygen to the baby. 

The supply of nutrients and oxygen, and also transfer of toxins and waste, between the mother and baby is vital to your baby’s development. 

Any disruption of the exchange can cause serious birth injuries to the mother and baby.

If the health condition is left undiagnosed and untreated, then the infection will transfer to the baby and cause even further health complications to your baby.

What are the causes of chorioamnionitis?

Like other bacterial infections, chorioamnionitis is caused by bacterial growth within the body. 

There are usually different species of bacteria found in choroamnionitis, so it’s considered to be a polymicrobial bacteria infection. 

There are four common types of bacteria that are found in choroamnionitis:

  1. E. Coli
  2. Group B Streptococci
  3. Ureaplasma
  4. Mycoplasma hominis

Other causes of choroamnionitis pertain to the maternal’s medical history.

Studies have shown that a significant history of urinary tract infections and having a short cervix can also increase the chance of developing choroamnionitis. 

The risks of choroamnionitis will also increases if the fetal membranes or the amniotic sac rupture prematurely. 

Other factors that can cause choroamnionitis include:

  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • If it’s the mother’s first birth
  • Strenuous and long labor before delivery
  • Receiving an epidural during labor
  • The use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco
  • Immune-compromised health conditions

Overall, a mother’s age, well-being and lifestyle can influence the likelihood of developing choroamnionitis.

In an effort to reduce the possibility of the infection, it’s best to speak with your obstetrician about chorioamnionitis and your past and current medical history to prepare a prenatal plan and ensure a healthy and safe delivery.

What are the signs and symptoms of chorioamnionitis?

Chorioamnionitis doesn’t always exhibit symptoms, however, there are a few commonly found signs and symptoms of the diagnosis.

The most telling signs of an intraamniotic infection that an expecting mother may experience are:

  • Fever
  • Tachycardia in mother or baby
  • Sweating
  • Uterine Tenderness
  • Discolored or foul-smelling amniotic fluid, i.e. discharge

Sometimes these symptoms can be overlooked by a physician as they are common symptoms of other ailments, such as other cardiovascular conditions, or even the flu.

What are the risks involved with Chorioamnionitis?

Chorioamnionitis can have a lifelong effect on both the mother and baby, especially if it’s left undiagnosed and untreated.

With chorioamnionitis, the mother is at risk of the following:

  • Bacteremia (infection in the mother’s bloodstream)
  • Excessive bleeding and blood clots
  • Endometriosis
  • Sepsis
  • Shortness of breath

For newborns, the risks include: 

  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung disease
  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Seizures
  • Death – in rare cases affecting preterm deliveries

It’s imperative that an obstetrician acts quickly and efficiently if they suspect a diagnosis of chorioamnionitis to ensure a safe delivery.

If there is a chance of chorioamnionitis and a preterm delivery, or any other health complications, a prenatal care plan should be followed to help the delivery team act quickly and precisely to reduce complications or injuries. 

Treatment for Chorioamnionitis

Treatment for chorioamnionitis involves aggressive and urgent antibiotics. 

The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics also greatly reduces the risks of chorioamnionitis as it doesn’t attack just one type of bacteria. 

Typically antibiotics for chorioamnionitis are given intravenously and are prescribed depending on when the condition is discovered. 

If chorioamnionitis is diagnosed prelabor, the mother will continue the antibiotic treatment until the infection has completely cleared.

If the infection develops during labor, the mother must continue the antibiotic treatment until after the baby is safely born.

If the infection transfers to your baby, then your obstetrician may suggest inducing labor. 

While inducing labor is common practice, the risks involved with inducing labor can also be severe and life-threatening to both mother and baby. 

Do I need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer? 

Most of the risks involved with chorioamnionitis are preventable if the attending obstetrician, physician or delivery team acts quickly and efficiently to diagnose and provide treatment.

If you or your baby were diagnosed with chorioamnionitis and suffered severe birth injuries as a result of your doctor’s negiligence or malpractice—you should file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Any misstep or delay in treatment can be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit against the obstetrician and even the hospital providing care. 

While the injury or disability may never be repaired, the financial burden placed on you and your family can be eased by the damages awarded from your lawsuit.

Fill out our intake form to talk to one of our trusted and knowledgable medical malpractice attorneys at Grover Lewis Johnson. 

We’ll reach out to setup a free consultation to review your case and give our best possible outcome.

We understand the pain and suffering you’ve incurred and will fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today.