Preparing for childbirth is a stressful but exciting experience. Whether you are getting ready to welcome your firstborn or your fifth child, it is common for people to feel nervous and scared, especially in their last trimester as they get closer to labor.
You have to put a lot of faith in the medical professionals attending to your birth. Unfortunately, sometimes those professionals make mistakes that can have a lasting impact on your family, such as causing birth injuries to your child. Both you as the expectant mother and your birth partner or doula can reduce the risk of birth injuries by watching for certain risk factors.
Make sure monitors remain attached and that staff check them frequently
The single biggest risk factor for preventable birth injuries in a modern hospital setting is inadequate monitoring of mother and baby. Whether the fetal monitor detaches or hospital staff members are too busy to check on you every 15 to 30 minutes, they could miss warning signs of complications and distress.
The longer your baby goes without oxygen because of a compressed umbilical cord, the greater the risk of the negative outcome. The same is true for a baby that goes into distress during labor or a mother who begins to bleed severely after delivery.
Adequate staff monitoring is essential for good outcomes. You and your birth partner need to be ready to demand attention and answers while in the hospital to ensure that staff members provide the care you need.
Watch out for unnecessary interventions
There are some scenarios where medical professionals need to intervene to save the life of a baby or its mother. Other times, they want to speed things up for their own convenience or because they think that the labor has taken too long even though it has progressed naturally so far.
Improper use of forceps or vacuum devices can cause conditions like Erb’s Palsy or damage a baby’s eyes, while the inappropriate administration of drugs in labor, like Cytotec, could have catastrophic consequences for mother and baby. Make sure that interventions are necessary and appropriate before agreeing to treatment.
Other risk factors that you can watch out for include secondary infection because of unclean spaces or medical professionals not changing their protective gear between patients, as well as giving patients too much medication, which might prevent a mother from engaging in labor or even put her or the baby at direct risk.
Anyone whose child or health was negatively impacted through a doctor’s behavior during birth may have grounds to bring a medical malpractice claim related to the birth injury they suffered.