Close monitoring throughout pregnancy and labor can reduce birth injuries. Despite this, there are almost 30,000 birth injuries to babies each year. Mothers also don’t fare well, with 45% of them saying they go through trauma during the labor and birth process. Birth doesn’t have to be a bad experience that results in injuries, though, as there are things you can do to minimize the risk.
Find a trustworthy obstetrician
Most expectant mothers should have their first appointment with their obstetrician when they’re between 8 and 10 weeks pregnant. You’ll spend a lot of time with your obstetrician, so you want to be sure that they can offer you and your unborn baby the best care possible. If you know of anyone who’s recently had a baby, ask them for recommendations.
You should always choose a board-certified doctor and, if you’ve got any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure the obstetrician you choose specializes in them. Obstetricians can and do make mistakes that can result in injury. For example, they may not order a gestational diabetes test or they could miss the early signs of preeclampsia. If you choose an obstetrician, but partway through your pregnancy feel they’re not right for you, don’t be afraid to change to another doctor.
Carefully consider your birth options
The majority of women choose to give birth vaginally. There is a chance of a birth injury occurring no matter which way you decide to give birth. If you do decide on a vaginal birth, it’s important that you know all your options and write them in your birth plan. In the event of an emergency, swift action can be taken which may prevent a birth injury.
When labor goes on for 18 hours or more, it’s called ‘delayed labor’. When labor isn’t progressing, medics should take suitable action to get the baby out as quickly as possible to avoid a birth injury. However, doctors have been known to delay giving women cesareans and, instead, attempt an assisted delivery.
This is risky and can cause the child to be born with cerebral palsy. A cerebral palsy malpractice lawyer will usually assist families that have gone through this type of ordeal. They’ll look into whether a breach of care played a part in your child’s medical condition and will consider damages.
A baby who’s born weighing 5 lbs 8oz or below is considered to have a low birth weight (LBW). LBW can be caused if you eat poorly, drink alcohol, take drugs, or smoke during your pregnancy.
As LBW babies are more fragile, they’re more likely to be injured during the birthing process. To give your baby the best chance of avoiding a birth injury, stay as healthy as you can by getting regular exercise, eating healthily, and avoiding harmful substances.
Many birth injuries are avoidable. It’s inevitable that some injuries will always occur during the birth process, but to lower the risk to you and your child, follow the above advice.