In the United States, as many as eight babies out of 1,000 live births suffer a significant birth injury and nearly half of those are avoidable. In many cases, there were steps that could have been taken to avoid injury to the infant and have a more positive outcome. Although parents may not be able to control every situation that could result in an injury, such as an error made by a doctor or midwife, there are some things they can do to minimize the risk of injury to their child.
Once a mother knows she is pregnant, she must choose a doctor to deliver her baby. Although some mothers may use recommendations from friends or relatives, others may be new to an area and need to choose an obstetrician on their own. It is critical to check the doctor’s qualifications and experience in order to choose an obstetrician who will provide the best care. If there are any risk factors, such as weight, age or medical history, it may be necessary to choose a specialist who deals with those factors.
In a normal pregnancy, a woman sees her obstetrician once per month for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, every two weeks until the 36th week of pregnancy and then each week until the baby is delivered. These appointments not only let the doctor track the baby’s progress and the mother’s health, they also provide the perfect opportunity to ask questions or tell the doctor anything that may be concerning. It is important to discuss any problems the mother is having, such as cramping or spotting. In addition, it is important to be honest about sexual history and any risk factors that may affect the baby, such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. Open communication with the obstetrician is the best way to avoid common birth injuries.
The doctor or midwife should keep the parents informed of what is going on in the delivery room, but they have duties to perform and may not be as open as the parents would like. It is perfectly acceptable to ask questions during labor and delivery. The doctor will be monitoring the fetal heartbeat and contractions while also checking the dilation of the cervix. Ask how things are going, whether there are any concerns about the baby or any other questions that may occur during the process. Doctors and nurses want to deliver healthy, happy babies as much as the parents want that to happen, so they will more than likely be willing to answer any questions or alleviate any concerns.
Prenatal care is one of the most important protections against birth injury available. During prenatal care, the doctor reviews any health risks that could affect the baby, such as diabetes or other medical condition. In addition, they determine whether a pregnancy is high risk which could lead to complications. The doctor also explains what will happen during pregnancy as well as labor and delivery. The mother is prescribed prenatal vitamins as well as information on diet and exercise. The mother learns what could increase her risk of birth injury, such as smoking or alcohol and drug use. During prenatal care, mothers can also ask questions of the doctor and provide them with crucial information that may reduce the risk of birth injury.
These simple steps can significantly reduce the risk of birth injury. However, even parents who follow this advice may have a child that suffers a birth injury due to medical negligence. If your child has suffered a birth injury and you believe it was due to medical negligence, you may have a personal injury claim against the doctor. Contact the Lundy Law Firm at 1-800-LundyLaw or complete the contact form on their website to learn what rights you may have regarding your child’s birth injury.