If you’re expecting a baby, it’s natural that you’d worry about birth injuries, and you’d want to do whatever you can to prevent them. However, the causes of most birth injuries are outside of parents’ control.
There are certain conditions that will make it more likely that an injury to a newborn may occur. Some of the main risk factors that can result in birth injury include:
- The baby’s position
- The baby’s size
- Complications during labor
- A small pelvis or birth canal
- A very long or short labor
- The use of forceps and vacuum extraction
There are many types of birth injury that can result from any of these situations. While some will result in temporary issues, others will lead to a lifetime of disability.
The Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries
One step you can take to lessen your baby’s risk of harm is to familiarize yourself with the most common causes of injuries. That way, you will have a greater chance of being able to recognize the signs that something is going wrong.
Most birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice. This occurs when a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional makes a mistake that harms or kills a patient. Parents trust these professionals and count on them to live up to high standards. When they fail, whether through blatant negligence or a mistake, babies can be hurt. A medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed if the evidence proves this negligence caused their newborn’s injury.
The average length of labor and delivery can vary greatly depending on your age and whether or not you’ve had children before. In general, labors that last more than 18 hours are cause for concern. When the birth process lasts this long, the fetus can begin to show signs of distress. This can happen when there is too much pressure put on their brain. The baby’s blood pressure can also rise, and in cases where the cord is compressed the consequences can be deadly.
When a newborn suffers brain damage, the cause is almost always oxygen deprivation. This can be the result of a compressed or prolapsed umbilical cord. Oxygen deprivation can also take place due to conditions with the fetus itself, such as underdeveloped lungs and low birth weight. The damage that is caused by this kind of injury can be temporary or it can be lifelong.
How to Prevent Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries are not preventable. Sometimes things happen during the birth process that are out of anyone’s control. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you are in the best possible shape for delivery so you can reduce the possibility you may need interventions. These include:
- Regular exercise that has been approved by your doctor
- Daily Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor
- Eat plenty of fiber so you don’t weaken your pelvic muscles by straining
You should also thoroughly research any obstetrician you are considering. Ask any doctors you interview which hospital you will have to use if you choose to use their services. You’ll also want to look into the reputation of the facility before you commit to the physician.
You can find out if any malpractice lawsuits have been filed against an obstetrician by calling the state medical license board, the state insurance department, and the county clerk’s office.
If your newborn is injured during birth or if you believe an injury may have occurred, you might want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer who specializes in birth injuries. They can explain your options to you and help you get the money you need to take care of your baby’s needs.