Welcoming your child into this world is the most wonderful feeling. However, as excited as you may be, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and worried about your baby. There is no denying that childbirth is a complex process. From the moment a mother goes into labor until the baby is born, a lot is at stake. However, with proper care and education, as a parent, you can ensure that the delivery goes smoothly and your baby arrives safely in your arms.
As an expectant parent, you may feel unnerved to learn what can go wrong, but you must know what can cause birth injuries and how to prevent them. Furthermore, it is equally vital you understand what resources are available for you and how you can use them.
What Constitutes a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries are any physical injury or harm that impacts the baby or mother during birth. These injuries are often traumatic, including bruises, fractures, open wounds, and nerve damage that can interfere with your baby’s development. Not all birth injuries occur because of medical negligence, but if your baby gets harmed by incompetent staff, you have every right to hold them accountable. In such cases, you cannot fight your legal battles alone, so it’s best you work with birth injury law firms to sue the hospital and their staff for injuring your child. Understand that this option is only available if you can prove the medical staff has mistreated you and your baby, so you should have a reputable attorney on your side.
What Factors Causes Birth Injuries
Numerous factors can lead to you or your child getting injured at birth.
1. Medical Negligence
Medical negligence is one of the most unfortunate ways your child can get injured. For any parent, this is a tragic event to experience and one that can leave lasting damage. You need a competent and vigilant staff to monitor your vital signs during active labor. This is because as labor progresses, there is a chance your vital health signs may plummet, and a healthcare practitioner will be needed to stabilize you. If your oxygen levels drop too low or your blood pressure suddenly shoots up during this stage of childbirth, and no immediate help is provided, it can impact your baby.
Likewise, if the medical practitioner handling your child’s delivery uses forceps forcefully, recklessly, uses suction without controlling the power, or roughly pulls on your child, it can lead to all types of injuries. Depending on how badly your child was harmed, your child will need time to recover. In some cases, like nerve damage, your child may not recover; instead, they have lifelong injuries and deformities that can impact their lifestyle.
2. The Size of the Mother and the Baby
Your baby has to pass through your birth canal to be born. Therefore, if your birth canal is too narrow, it may be difficult for your child to pass through. As a result, you may experience a troubled delivery and struggle with giving birth. Furthermore, you may need assistance delivering your child if you have a heavy baby and a small pelvic region. In the healthcare sector, if the baby is too large and the mother’s birth canal is too narrow, it is known as Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD). If you have this condition, you have no choice but to have a C-section.
However, your doctor needs to act fast and schedule you for the procedure before the baby shifts into the birth canal, which can harm your health. Likewise, babies bigger than 9 lbs cannot be delivered through the birth canal. This size is far too big for vaginal delivery and so once again, you need to go through a C-section.
In all these circumstances, you need a healthcare provider to intervene.
Without a medical practitioner’s help, your baby may get stuck in your birth canal, resulting in injuries. If a doctor tries to squeeze the baby out, there’s a chance the shoulder may get fractured.
3. Maternal Infections
As a mother, your health plays an essential role in the development of your fetus. Hence, it would help if you were vigilant about your well-being. Infections like cytomegalovirus, herpes, and rubella heavily impact fetal development. If you contract these infections, there’s a high probability it will harm your child. Untreated maternal infections tend to travel through the placenta and enter the fetal membrane.
4. Misusing Pitocin
Pitocin is a widely used drug during labor and delivery. This medication is an artificial copy of the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates the uterus, causing contractions and initiating labor. Generally, a healthcare provider will administer this drug if you cannot go into active labor naturally. So, if it has been more than a few hours or, at most, a day, your doctor may try to induce labor to get the process started. However, not every pregnant woman can handle the drug Pitocin. In extreme cases, your body may get overstimulated, making your uterus contract too frequently and intensely. Hyperstimulation is detrimental for your baby and can cut off their oxygen supply, pushing them into the birth canal too fast and resulting in a significant injury.
Giving birth is a challenging process. Like any parent, you would want a smooth and safe delivery without significant complications. Yet, unfortunately, not every birth story is a happy one. This happens for various reasons, which include factors that are in your control and those that are not. When you’re ready to give birth, your body will undergo numerous changes, which is why you could use all the help available.
But, sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may end up with incompetent staff, have a negligent doctor, or get mistreated while you’re going through labor. In other cases, if you have untreated illnesses, a small birth canal, or are subjected to a synthetic drug like Pitocin, these factors can also impact your delivery, making it hard for you to give birth, leading to injuries.