We often hear about advances in science and medicine that decrease infant
mortality and make childbirth safer for the mother. Supposedly, new methods
and technologies have the power to make pregnancy and childbirth into
a secure process that threatens the health of neither the mother nor the
baby. This narrative proclaims that, perhaps within this century, birth
injuries will practically be things of the past.
However, the actual research into birth injuries shows something altogether
different. According to a
Centers for Disease Control study published in 2012, emergencies during deliveries increased by 75% in the
first decade of the 21st Century. In addition, researchers found that
in the days following delivery, severe complications in mothers more than
doubled during this period.
Study Raises Questions about Maternal Health
Of the more than four million babies who are born in the United States
each year, about 52,000 deliveries are affected by severe complications.
One major cause of the 75% increase in delivery emergencies is the rise
in the number of expecting mothers who are obese, older, or suffering
from long-term conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. But young,
healthy women also commonly experience complications during delivery,
putting their own health and that of their babies in danger.
Common Complications During Delivery
There are myriad complications and injuries that can occur during childbirth.
Some of the most serious involve problems with the placenta or umbilical
cord, which are responsible for transferring oxygen-rich blood and nutrients
from the mother to the baby. These complications include placental abruption,
umbilical cord prolapse, nuchal cord, uterine rupture, and placenta previa.
Some of these problems can ultimately lead to a baby being diagnosed with
cerebral palsy or other permanent conditions.
Hospitals Trying to Address the Issue
Hospitals around the country are implementing programs and strategies to
try to lower the rate of delivery emergencies and complications. Among
other steps, many are developing emergency protocols that have been shown
to reduce trauma, injuries, and deaths. The hospitals have both altruistic
and selfish motives for wanting to reduce
childbirth injuries: pregnancy and delivery complications cost these hospitals billions of
dollars each year, and they would like nothing more than to lower those expenses.
What Expecting Mothers Can Do
If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, make sure you
consult with a physician to ensure that you are in good health. Having
a medical history to which a physician can refer is an important aspect
of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Once you are pregnant, you should
go in for regular medical checkups, so that your physician can look for
any signs of a high-risk pregnancy.
What to Do if You Experience a Birth Injury
If you or your child is injured during childbirth, and you believe the
injury may be the result of medical negligence, you should contact a personal
injury attorneyimmediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case
and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you
seek the compensation you deserve.