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Birth injury: The causes and how you can improve your odds

It’s a stressful feeling knowing you can’t do much to help your child. This is the feeling associated with a birth-related injury. The costs associated with birth injuries are scary enough. The total costs associated with hearing loss near $400,000 and vision damage can creep to $500,000 in total costs over a lifetime. For a less-severe physical birth injury like a broken bone, the cost can be several thousand dollars.

Birth injuries are no joking matter, and some can affect a child every single day of their lives. Birth defects are debilitating as well. What’s the difference?

Birth defects develop from your child’s DNA. Down Syndrome, a heart murmur or spina bifida are all examples of birth defects and are often caused by outside factors like certain prescription drugs and birth control medication. On the other hand, birth injuries are often preventable and are often due to medical negligence.

The following causes are medical failures can lead to birth injuries.

  • A delayed birth: This is caused by outside factors delaying the birth of a child and can lead to cognitive and developmental issues among others
  • Improper pulling or twisting of the infant during delivery
  • Supplying the mother with the wrong type or amount of medication
  • Incorrect usage of birth-delivery tools
  • Improper monitoring of fetal and mother’s distress level or fetal heartbeat and failing to schedule an emergency C-section
  • Inaccurately detecting maternal or fetal infections or umbilical cord problems
  • Oxygen deprivation: A familiar cause of this is the umbilical cord getting wrapped around the baby’s neck

From cognitive and/or emotional impairment to bone development failure, osteoarthritis and emotional or psychological issues, the fallout of a birth injury can be wide-ranging. If you do sense anything irregular, consult your doctor immediately. If you’re fearing medical malpractice, it is best to consult someone with legal knowledge on how to proceed.

One of the most severe birth injury disorders that you and your baby could have to endure is Cerebral Palsy (CP) and there is no cure. Thus, the cost of care and effects a child is forced to deal with, will last forever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the lifetime costs of taking care of a child with cerebral palsy can total $1 million. The effects of CP include delays in motor skills, muscle spasticity (stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes,) rigid muscles, lack of muscle coordination, difficulty walking and seizures among others.

Preventing birth injuries

Some things you can do to improve your odds of having a safe delivery that leads to a happy and healthy baby are:

  • Be proactive about your prenatal care and during delivery be vocal about how you are feeling throughout the process
  • Be honest with your doctor about any health issues that could cause problems during your pregnancy and delivery
  • Consult with your midwife and/or healthcare provider to discuss their actions toward preventing issues during delivery

Lastly, to improve the chances of a safe delivery, take care of yourself. Your health is the main factor that you can control to increase the chances of a healthy child post-delivery.

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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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