The chances for potentially serious birth injuries increase the longer a pregnancy progresses.
Problems can arise during a woman’s pregnancy that pose a major threat to her unborn child. These types of issues are every expectant parent’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, they occur more often than you might think. There are a variety of different types of birth injuries that can result in permanent disabilities or even loss of life. They become more likely over the course of your pregnancy, and in many cases, they are entirely preventable.
How Common are Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries affect between six and eight of every 1,000 babies born in the United States. This translates into roughly 28,000 children each year, or more than 75 babies per day. Injuries can occur at any point in a pregnancy, but they are more common the closer you get to labor and delivery. Among the most common causes of birth injuries are:
- Communication errors among your doctor, midwife, nurses, hospital personnel, and other care providers involved. Communication errors can result in mistakes that allow potentially dangerous conditions early in your pregnancy to go unnoticed.
- Failure to properly monitor the mother. Proper prenatal health and routine monitoring of the pregnancy is essential for preventing birth injuries.
- Failure to properly monitor the infant. Checking the heart rate, amniotic fluid level, and growth of the baby, as well as performing tasks such as ultrasounds, can help identify potential problems the developing infant might face.
- Failure to intervene when needed. Interventions doctors employ throughout the pregnancy and during delivery can help reduce the likelihood of birth injuries.
When Birth Injuries are Most Likely to Occur
For expectant mothers, it is important to be aware that the rate of birth injuries increases the closer you get to labor and delivery. Report any discomfort, sudden changes in the level of activity in your baby, or other potential issues to your medical provider immediately. Common factors in a pregnancy that can make birth injuries more likely to happen include:
- Excess weight gain: Gaining weight during your pregnancy or having a large baby increases the likelihood that extraction methods will be needed, increasing the risk for birth injuries.
- Maternal infections: Infections suffered by the mother during pregnancy can have effects on the placenta. This could disrupt your baby’s oxygen supply, leading to birth injuries such as cerebral palsy.
- Preeclampsia:High blood pressure in the mother can cause lack of oxygen or blood flow to your baby, resulting in potentially severe brain injuries. Preeclampsia can also result in significant injuries to the mother.
- Positioning issues: As pregnancy progresses, it is important that your doctor monitor the position of the baby. If the infant descends the birth canal in anything but a headfirst position, it can lead to broken bones, dislocated joints, nerve damage, and other types of birth injuries.
When Birth Injuries Happen During Pregnancy, Labor, or Delivery
When preventable birth injuries happen, doctors, hospitals, and others involved can be held liable for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering your family experiences as a result. Contact an experienced birth injury attorney to discuss your rights in filing a claim.