Posted in Blog on August 31, 2019
Birth injuries are serious, sometimes fatal injuries that can have lifelong effects. During or after the birth process, traumas caused by mechanical force, birth asphyxia, and infections can result in permanent disabilities and illnesses. However, birth injuries, though extremely serious, are mostly preventable. Birth injuries and their lasting complications can be avoided if the health of the mother and baby are monitored and cared for throughout pregnancy, delivery, and the neonatal period. Birth injuries can also be prevented through prompt medical intervention when it is necessary. However, therapeutic intervention and care, in general, are upheld to specific standards of care, and if the care is inadequate and injuries result, negligence can be claimed. If lasting injuries stem directly from negligent practices, this constitutes medical malpractice. Here is a list of steps to take during the pre and postnatal phases that actively avoid birth injuries:
Adequate Prenatal Care
A mother and baby require thorough prenatal tests that gauge their health, which can detect both maternal conditions and fetal issues alike. When detected early and managed effectively, it can be possible to prevent injuries at birth. Women diagnosed with high-risk pregnancies should be referred to specialists and receive more extensive prenatal management.
Identifying Signs of Fetal Distress
When monitoring a fetus during pregnancy, medical professionals must be able to determine when a fetus is in distress by detecting signals. Such signals include decreased movement, abnormal heartbeats, abnormal amniotic fluid, abnormal Doppler flow studies, abnormal biophysical profiles, extreme weight fluctuations in the mother, vaginal bleeding from the mother, and more. Even further significant is determining signals of fetal distress during the delivery phase, which can be achieved through fetal hearth monitoring.
Minimizing Risks of Premature Birth When Possible
Permanent injuries and disabilities can occur as a result of babies who are born prematurely, due to their organs and immune systems not having developed fully. Premature birth can be avoided with the identification and management of specific risks related to each case.
When premature birth is unavoidable (whether medically necessary or not) specific in-utero interventions (such as steroid or drug therapies) can help to minimize the risk of injury to the fetus just before it is born prematurely.
Identifying the Risks Affiliated with Vaginal Birth When Relevant
Sometimes, vaginal births can prove to be riskier and more dangerous for both mother and baby. In these cases, doctors recommend C-sections. Such circumstances include prolonged labor, the fetus itself or its head being too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis, problems within the placenta or the uterus, umbilical cord compression and other forms of fetal distress, and infection within the mother. Birth-assisting tools and contraction-enhancing drugs are used to aid in the birthing process; however, as helpful as they can be, they can also cause significant damage. Therefore, they must be used with care and expertise.
Proper NICU Care
When a baby is born prematurely or has sustained injuries during birth, they are sent to the neonatal intensive care unit. The fragile and vulnerable babies within the NICU must receive the very best care, otherwise, serious consequences can result. Through problems with medical equipment, breathing assistance mistakes, or failure to diagnose or identify conditions, vulnerable newborns can sustain permanent injuries and lifelong disabilities.
Informed consent and permission must be obtained from the mother when medical decisions are being made about her baby. When medical professionals avoid explaining risks, benefits, and alternatives to specific treatments, and the mother or fetus are harmed as a result, medical malpractice can be claimed. In the case of medical malpractice causing a baby’s injury, families often pursue lawsuits against the medical providers. If you or your baby were injured during the birth process as a result of insufficient care, a birth injury lawyer at Zaner Harden Law can help your family pursue a claim and effectively advocate on your behalf.