Any injury is a challenging, stressful experience that could have long-term, severe consequences. During birth, injuries to the mother or the infants are classified as birth injuries. Despite the general high quality of healthcare in the United States, the rate of birth injuries continues to creep up over the years. Maternal birth injuries happen to the mother, and they can be just as devastating as an injury to the infant.
Why Are Birth Injuries Going Up?
Right around 10% of all deliveries in the United States have complications that require some type of intervention. There are about 28,000 birth injuries in the US each year, or three per hour. While any medical procedure carries some risk level, the problem with birth injuries is that experts agree they are almost universally preventable or avoidable through proper preparation.
The frequency of most types of birth injuries has increased since 1989. It can be hard to quantify and qualify birth injuries because many have cognitive and developmental repercussions. The signs of a birth injury’s severity may not surface until later in the child’s life, usually within the first year. Many cognitive and developmental effects of birth injuries are undetectable until the child is in school.
Maternal Birth Injuries
Birth is a messy, painful, physically taxing process, as any mother will tell you. There are several maternal injuries that occur due to birth and need swift treatment. There is a higher risk of traumatic maternal injury when the baby is large or not in the correct position. Some examples of maternal injuries from the delivery are uterine ruptures, vaginal tears, and anal fissures. Some of the drugs used to induce labor have caused uterine ruptures in the past.
Medical interventions due to complications in the birth are fairly common. Two examples of techniques for easing a delivery, or making it possible, are episiotomies and Caesarean sections.
An episiotomy is an incision used to assist in childbirth by enlarging the vagina. If quick and proper suturing is not done after the birth is completed, the mother can bleed excessively.
Cesarean sections, commonly called C-sections, also put the mother at risk of excessive bleeding. C-sections are surgery to extract a child that is having delivery complications. Scar tissue and surgical adhesions from a C-section can also complicate future deliveries, leading to more medical interventions and higher risk.
Many maternal injuries are related to the pain relief that the mother elects to receive. Anesthesia and epidurals make the birth process less traumatic and painful for the mother, but their use requires careful monitoring of the mother’s vitals.
What Should a Victim of a Birth Injury Do?
Whether the birth injury impacted the mother or the infant, the family should look at their options for recovery and justice. If the victim or their loved ones suspect that there was medical malpractice as a driving force behind the birth injury, they need to speak with a Boca Raton birth injury attorney. Even if you aren’t sure, an investigation may uncover malpractice, and future patients could avoid the same situation.
Before or after you have found an experienced attorney that can guide you through the process, you will want to gather any and all paperwork pertaining to the pregnancy and birth. Showing that the parents made the right decisions and received prenatal care might also be important in your case.
Proving who is liable for a birth injury is tricky since it can happen due to circumstance. If you were not allowed in the room with your loved one who experienced a birth injury, find out all you can about the conditions. An attorney can help you get her official statements from people who were involved. Oftentimes, birth injuries to the infant happen or worsen in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), so that’s a good place to start.