How to Minimize the Chances of Birth Injury
By Lynn Fugaro, Staff Writer
There’s nothing more devastating than a joyous day of childbirth turning into a tragedy when a baby is injured during birth and forced to face a lifetime of physical and cognitive challenges that most children and families never see. Did you know that in the United States as many as eight in 1,000 babies suffer some type of significant birth injury and that almost 50% of those injuries are avoidable? You’re probably not sure what’s worse: the fact that there are that many birth injuries in this country or that half could have been prevented altogether.
While some birth injuries are unavoidable, many could have been prevented with some preventative steps. Today we are going to look at some things you can do as parents to help minimize the chances that your baby will be injured during childbirth.
What Can You Do To Avoid Birth Injury
Unfortunately, medical mistakes are made every day in hospitals, urgent care centers, and doctors’ offices all over the world, but there are things you can do to help reduce your baby’s chances of suffering a birth injury.
Communicate with your doctor: Open communication with your ob-gyn coupled with regular appointments throughout the course of your pregnancy is an important step to take when you’re expecting a child. The more you see your physician, the more he will know you, your body, and your baby. Your doctor will track your baby’s progress throughout your pregnancy, and open lines of communication will allow you to discuss any concerns you may have while you’re pregnant and nearing delivery.
Research your obstetrician: Be sure to choose a doctor that has given expert care to people you know. If you’re new to an area and don’t have any family or friends close by, do your homework by reading reviews and asking around in your community. One bad review online may be all you need to keep looking for another physician. Trust your gut; if you get a bad feeling about a doctor, simply keep looking. Your life and the life of your baby are literally in your doctor’s hands.
Get excellent prenatal care: By following the first suggestion, good prenatal care will take place, as it’s one of the best defenses against birth injury. During prenatal care, any health risks that could affect the baby, such as diabetes or other medical conditions, will come to light if they exist. Your doctor will also determine whether a pregnancy is high risk, which could lead to complications, and your doctor should explain thoroughly what will happen prior to and during delivery. You will be prescribed prenatal vitamins, and you will be provided information on diet and exercise. Your doctor will tell you about factors that increase the risk of birth injury, such as smoking and substance use. During prenatal care, you can ask all the questions you want regarding what can be done to help ensure a safe, complication-free delivery.
Know what’s going on in the delivery room: The more you know, the less frightening the experience of childbirth will be. While you and your baby are being monitored prior to, during, and after childbirth, you can ask questions, and your doctor should tell you what is happening every step of the way. The primary job of the doctors and nurses in the delivery room is to delivery a healthy, happy baby and alleviate any concerns you may have during the joyous time of your baby’s birth.
Birth Injury Facts and Figures
When things go wrong during childbirth, birth injury may occur, and the most common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Fractured bones
According to data published on birthinjuryguide.org:
- Approximately 28,000 newborns are injured during or after delivery each year in the United States.
- Males are much more likely to suffer birth injury than females.
- 6 out of 1,000 children are born with moderate to severe injuries (fractured bones, cerebral palsy, and developmental or neurological disorders).
- 20% of infant fatalities result from birth injuries.
- 134 of every 100,000 babies born will die due to a birth injury.
- Up to 14% of birth injuries do not surface until the child is of school age.
- 7% of birth injuries surface within the first year of the child’s life.
If your child suffered a birth injury that could have been avoided, please contact a birth injury attorney in your area today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.