There are many joys of parenthood, but these joys can easily wane if you face complications during pregnancy and childbirth. A birth injury is any harm to the infant before its birth, during the delivery process, or after. Birth injuries are a serious matter, as they can have severe impacts on the infant’s health that can last for their whole life. In addition, it often results in the infant dealing with permanent disabilities, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), intellectual impairment, cerebral palsy (CP), etc. However, the birth injuries that typically result in permanent disorders of often preventable with precaution and care. For this reason, we will discuss some of the primary causes of birth injury and how to prevent it.
- Not Providing Proper Prenatal Care
Birth injuries are typically preventable if the medical professional carefully monitor the mother and the baby’s health. In case of any complication, their intervention can save the mother and the infant. Therefore, doctors must recommend prenatal tests to be done on the infant and the mother. A prenatal test can give helpful information about the material conditions. These conditions include the state of infections, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Taking these tests helps the doctors recognize fetal issues like obstruction in the infant’s growth, suboptimal positions, heart rate issues, etc. If the medical professional detects these problems early on during the pregnancy, they can adequately manage them to avoid birth injuries. If the doctors fail to recognize that a woman’s pregnancy is high-risk, it can result in severe birth injuries. In such cases, the parents can contact a birth injury justice center to make the healthcare professional and facility compensate for the birth injuries.
- Not Detecting And Addressing Signs Of Fetal Distress
Medical professionals have the responsibility of keeping a medical record of the mother and the baby. They have to monitor them for any signs of fetal distress by the baby. Some of these signs are:
- Decreased movements by the baby
- Increased or reduced heart rate of the baby
- The abnormal volume of the amniotic fluid
- Abnormal biophysical profile
- Abnormal study of doppler flow
- Bleeding from vagina
- Severe cramping
- Excessive or insufficient maternal weight
Apart from watching for these signs during pregnancy, professionals have to keep tabs on these signs during the time of infant delivery. Then, in case of abnormality, medical professionals can immediately assist the mother and the infant.
- Not Preventing Premature Birth
Babies who are born prematurely typically have a weak immune system, low weight, or underdeveloped organs. These factors can increase the risks of birth injuries and even cause brain damage and disabilities. Fortunately, medical professionals now possess the ability to prevent premature childbirth often. It consists of recognizing the early signs and mitigating those symptoms. For example, if the main factor that can cause premature childbirth is cervical insufficiency, doctors can minimize this factor by giving a cervical cerclage. Cervical cerclage is a temporary stitch to keep the cervix closed till it is time for delivery. Some other intervention methods include recommending progesterone and magnesium sulfate.
While medical professionals do everything they can to prevent premature childbirth, sometimes it is inevitable or even necessary. In this case, medical professionals must take certain measures to minimize the risks and chances of injuries to the infant.
- Medical Malpractice In The NICU
Any infant born prematurely, sustained injuries during birth or faces any other medical issue is usually sent to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As these newborn infants are incredibly fragile, they require constant monitoring and intensive care. Unfortunately, medical professionals can make mistakes due to negligence or improper maintenance, which can have severe consequences. Some of these mistakes are:
- Error in a breathing assistance
- Failure to recognize the symptoms of HIE and to provide treatment
- Failure to diagnose issues like infections, hemorrhage, seizures, anemia, etc.
- Medication mix-up or issue with IVs and tubes
Such medical malpractices can cause birth injury and lead to lifelong disabilities or even death. Hence, if the infant’s condition worsens, parents should go to a reliable doctor and seek their help.
- Delayed Birth
On the one hand, premature birth is the cause of birth injuries and many other problems. But, on the other hand, delayed birth is also a common cause of injuries at birth. Generally, labor lasts for more than eighteen hours. But eighteen hours is medically considered delayed birth as it increases the pressure on the infant’s skull. This pressure and compression can cause fetal distress and even high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure at childbirth can cause a stroke or heart problems.
Parents and medical professionals must follow a standard procedure of care when managing the pregnancy, birth, and the infant’s health issues. Ensuring that you take proper prenatal care can help solve most of these issues. Therefore, we can say that the key is to identify and mitigate issues before they create a bigger problem for the infant and the mother.