The last thing that anyone wants when they’re getting ready to give birth is for anything to happen to their newborn baby. Pregnant women do so much to take care of their fetus, and having birth injury impact the health of a newborn during childbirth is just the worst thing that can happen. In fact, the concept of birth injury is so taboo that many pregnant women won’t even want to hear about it during pregnancy. This is understandable—we all want to believe that only the best-case scenario will come to pass.
Nevertheless, birth injuries do occur, far too frequently. In fact, out of every 1,000 newborns born in the United States, approximately seven of them will have a birth injury. Whether it’s just an unfortunate scenario or the result of medical malpractice or negligence, birth injuries are a part of the landscape. Let’s take a look at four things everyone should know about birth injuries.
1. Some birth defects can be avoided.
There’s a difference between a birth injury, like a brain injury caused by misuse of forceps, and a birth defect. Pregnant women have plenty of people telling what to do and avoid, and many of these pieces of advice (while well-intentioned) can be overwhelming and frustrating. There are some things that you should do to take care of your fetus.
Taking folic acid can aid neurological development and avoid brain damage, so make sure your prenatal vitamins have folic acid in them Don’t drink alcohol—not even a sip—and eat a healthy diet to avoid high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. All of these are things to consider while planning for pregnancy. If you can’t avoid drinking alcohol and adhering to a healthy diet throughout your prenatal care, you can’t be assured that you’ll have a healthy baby.
2. If your newborn incurred a birth injury, you have legal options.
When it comes to birth injuries caused by negligence or medical malpractice on the part of your obstetrician or gynecologist, that’s a different story. No newborn baby should be subject to health problems because of the negligence of a medical professional, and no pregnant women should have to be let down by the healthcare provider who they trusted with their birth.
A birth injury lawyer can help you get the fair compensation you deserve by filing and fighting a lawsuit on your behalf. It’s important to get a local attorney who understands the local statute of limitations and specific state laws. Everywhere in the United States is a bit different, so if you’re in the Chicago area, hire a birth injury attorney in Chicago and not in New York.
Legal action may be unpleasant, but there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be compensated by a medical professional’s insurance company for the medical condition your baby has incurred.
3. There are support groups out there for you.
Even the best historian can’t change the writing of history—what has happened is the truth. As painful as this is, it’s important to recognize that your birth story ended in a birth injury. While historical writing won’t make the pain of a birth injury that occurs during the delivery process go away, finding a community in the form of other women who have experienced this can be a huge help.
The counsel of other mothers, and the support of people who have faced their own birth injury case, will have you feeling less isolated in your new reality.
4. Get help for your newborn, but get help for you as well.
Going to a support group is important, and it’s something you can do with your spouse, partner, or co-parent. That being said, the importance of getting the counsel of an individual therapist cannot be overstated. Even moms who have completely healthy pregnancies can experience a birth injury during the delivery process, and that’s what makes the experience such a shock.
You may be experiencing postpartum depression, PTSD, or other issues if your baby was injured in the birth canal. The birthing process is complex, and accepting this reality may take one-on-one counseling sessions. So, while you’re getting medical treatment for your baby, of course, make sure that you’re looking out for your mental health as well.
No one wants to think that their child’s birth will end in injury. But unfortunately, these things do happen. These tips may help you navigate a complex situation.