Medical malpractice

The Most Dangerous Maternal Infections

September 5, 2018 by Carrie Capouellez
most dangerous maternal infections

When a loved one becomes pregnant, it’s often a celebratory and joyful time for family and friends. Many celebrations and family gatherings are had in anticipation of the new arrival and everyone is generally in good spirits. What might surprise some people is that there are often many health risks for both the mother and the child during pregnancy and childbirth, some of the most dangerous being maternal infections.

A maternal infection is any type of infection in a pregnant woman that has the capability to travel through the blood, placenta, or birth canal during pregnancy or childbirth. If left undiagnosed, such infections can result in serious and in some cases long-term injuries or disabilities to the baby.

Here are a few of the most common maternal infections:

Chicken Pox

Having chicken pox or varicella can result in serious health issues in babies less than a year old. These issues often include pneumonia, vision problems, congenital varicella syndrome, developmental delays, scarring, and cognitive disabilities. According to the Organization for Teratology Information services (OTIS), the risk for birth injury is 0.5 to 1 percent when chicken pox appears in the first trimester. The risk then increases throughout the pregnancy.


Rubella, often referred to as the German Measles, when contracted by the infant, can result in vision and hearing problems, congenital heart disease, restriction of intrauterine growth, brain inflammation, miscarriage, stillbirth, and even eventual diabetes.


Chorioamnionitis, otherwise known as intra-amniotic infection, is an infection or inflammation of the fetal membranes. This can lead to birth injuries like meningitis, sepsis, premature rupture of membranes, preterm birth, and villitis.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

GBS is found in about 25 percent of pregnant women according to data from the CDC. This common bacteria is found in the intestines and genital tract. If the mother is infected, the baby may suffer from brain damage, seizures, cerebral palsy, premature birth, meningitis, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and sepsis.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can be transferred to the infant during pregnancy or during the birthing process. If infected, the baby may experience neurological issues, fetal distress, hearing loss, vision loss, teeth malformation, low birth weight, stillbirth, or neonatal death.

Hepatitis B

Infants are most at risk for contracting Hepatitis B during the birthing process. If this occurs, the infected newborn has around a nine in ten chance of developing long-term health issues, which can include liver damage and liver cancer.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial Vaginosis is a common bacterial infection of the vagina. When left untreated, this infection can lead to premature membrane rupture, premature birth, and brain damage to the infant.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

A UTI can affect the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. If left untreated it can even lead to severe and long-term birth injuries like intrauterine infection, premature birth, and neonatal infection. Other consequences can include low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, chorioamnionitis, preeclampsia, anemia, and even fetal death.

Birth Injury Lawyers For Philadelphia

If you or your baby has suffered injuries or sadly wrongful death due to a maternal infection caused by medical negligence or malpractice, the effects can be devastating. At Lopez McHugh LLP, we are here to fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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