Pregnancy and labor are dangerous times for both mothers and babies. America has one of the highest mortality rates for mothers giving birth. To further complicate matters, your baby may enter the world with birth defects or birth injuries. The primary difference between the two ties back to how and when they occurred. Most birth defects happen naturally, during gestation. Birth injuries occur at birth and may result from medical errors.
According to a recent study published by the National Library of Medicine, doctors sometimes have an easy time distinguishing birth defects from injuries but not always. It recommends a focused clinical assessment to determine whether malformations result from congenital defects or birth trauma.
Birth trauma on the decline
Even though maternal mortality rates remain high, birth injuries have trended downwards, said the study. These may stem from the following factors:
- Increased use of cesarean sections fo difficult vaginal deliveries
- A decrease in vacuum-assisted deliveries
- A decrease in the use of forceps
Despite this decline, injuries do happen. In 2012, it occurred 1.9 times in every 1,000 live births.
If you suspect your baby has suffered a birth injury, it may not work in your favor to seek an assessment from the doctor who delivered the baby or the facility where the delivery occurred. Both entities may have a vested interest in downplaying the role of health care professionals in the malformation or its original source.
A doctor or facility unrelated to the case may provide you with more objective information. You may then use this medical information to better determine how to move forward. Note that many parents seek opinions from multiple doctors, especially for more serious cases.