6 Steps to Prevent Birth Injuries

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Birth injuries refer to harm a baby could receive during delivery—6 to 8 babies out of one thousand experience a serious birth injury in the U.S. alone. From bruising to brain damage, these injuries can seriously affect a newborn. Common birth injuries are cerebral palsy, facial paralysis, skull fracture, nerve damage, Erb’s palsy, and cephalohematoma. 

Birth injuries can happen for a variety of reasons. Some include delayed birth, oxygen deprivation, medication, bacterial or viral infections, and medical negligence. Some injuries can’t be prevented; however, in many cases, various steps could be adopted to avoid birth injury to the baby and have a favorable result. Even though it is not always possible for parents to control circumstances that could lead to an injury, like a misstep made by a healthcare practitioner, there are several steps parents can take to minimize the risk of injury at birth. 

1- Seek Best Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is essential for every pregnant woman and helps prevent any possible birth injuries as it allows the doctor to monitor your condition and the developing fetus. Your caregiver examines any associated health risks that could impact the newborn, such as preeclampsia and diabetes. Your doctor will tell you about any complications and recommend possible options, such as a cesarean section if your baby is too large or too small for a vaginal delivery. 

Although after getting the proper prenatal care, there are chances that a child suffers a birth injury because of medical malpractice. In some cases, getting specific prenatal care, such as prenatal yoga, might be the best option for you. If your baby has encountered a birth injury and you think it was due to the negligence of your healthcare provider, you can file a birth injury lawsuit against the doctor or a nurse. Amount won from such a case can help parents pay for the child’s medical treatment, including medications, surgery, speech or occupational therapy, special education expenses, and mobility aids.

2- Choose an Experienced and Qualified Obstetrician

It is crucial to look into the doctor’s experience and qualifications to choose the best obstetrician. Some people use recommendations from relatives or friends, while others may be unfamiliar with this area and need to find the best one on their own. Research about them and see their reviews on social platforms or their website. If you are in doubt and are not comfortable with them, find the one you feel relaxed with. 

3- Quit Smoking during Pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased chances of pregnancy complications. It can result in low birth weight, leading to a high risk of childbirth injury. Because smaller newborn babies are more fragile than average-sized babies, they are more vulnerable to injuries during delivery. Recently published studies reveal that cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors for cerebral palsy. The chemicals in cigarette smoke deprive babies of oxygen needed for the growth of the brain and body. When infants are devoid of oxygen, the probability of developing a condition called Hypoxia Ischemic Injury (HII) increases, which becomes the cause of cerebral palsy. 

4- Take Adequate Supplements

You may have observed doctors prescribing multivitamins to ladies who are pregnant. This is because some vitamins and nutrients are missing in many diets and needed for healthy fetal development. Folic acid is one of them. It is usually recommended to take a folic acid supplement during pregnancy to prevent any defects and complications at the time of birth. 

Don’t ever forget to take your prenatal vitamins. Try to stick to those prescribed by your doctor. If you need to go over-the-counter, speak to your obstetrician first.

5- Health and Balanced Diet

Many of us know that a healthy diet is vital for a healthy pregnancy. Foods high in calcium and protein are highly suggested for pregnant women. Besides, pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming mercury-rich foods, such as fish, especially tuna, shark, swordfish, etc. Research suggests that overeating increases the risk of delayed birth, leading to birth complications, which, in turn, can become the cause of birth injury.  

6- Communicate

Ensure to attend all appointments with your doctor. The appointments will not only let the doctor monitor your baby’s progress but provide you with the opportunity to ask anything you are worried about. Discuss any issues you are having, your history, or other factors, such as drug abuse, alcohol, or smoking that you believe may affect your baby. Communicating openly with your doctor can help you prevent common birth injuries to your baby. 

Conclusion 

Many babies undergo minor birth injuries during the birthing process that usually heal without treatment. However, some major injuries may lead to lifelong physical and mental impairments. Although the birth injury is not within parent’s control in certain conditions like medical negligence, there are various things they can do, such as getting the best prenatal care, choosing the best obstetrician, taking prenatal supplements, and quitting unhealthy habits like smoking and substance abuse, to minimize the birth injury risks to their child. Also, discussing any concerns with your doctor is important – communication is the key.