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Birth trauma is damage that happens to a newborn’s tissues, organs, and bones immediately before, during, or after delivery. This is often the result of physical pressure that is put on your baby as it exits the birth canal. No one wants to think of their baby experiencing trauma while they’re being born, but the truth is it happens, and in most cases, it’s perfectly normal.
Every expectant mother pictures their beautiful baby, but once you see what a newborn really looks like, you may be surprised. Normal signs of birth trauma that can include puffy eyes, swollen tissue, and an elongated skull. Thankfully, these are all temporary.
Birth can be one of the most beautiful and profound experiences a woman can have. It can also be one of the scariest. If you’re expecting a baby, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time online frightening yourself with worst-case scenarios. The good news is, birth trauma that leads to birth injuries is rare.
In the United States, approximately 29 of every 1,000 live births will result in an injury to the newborn. Some injuries can’t be avoided due to circumstances beyond the doctor’s control. Other injuries, however, were caused by preventable medical negligence.
If your baby was injured and you believe it was caused by a medical mistake, a birth injury attorney can help you file a lawsuit to help pay for your child’s needs. If you’re still pregnant and you’re worried, keep reading to learn more about the types of birth injuries and what you can do to lessen your baby’s risk.
The Causes of Birth Trauma
At least 2% of births in the United States involve injuries that are not the result of any congenital condition. Some of the most common conditions that can be the result of birth trauma include:
- A baby that weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces
- A baby that is born before you are 37 weeks pregnant
- Prolonged or difficult labor or delivery
- Abnormal fetal positioning
- The mother having a small or differently shaped pelvis
Any of these causes can increase the likelihood that interventions will need to be taken, such as the use of forceps or vacuum extraction. Babies have delicate bones and tissues, especially when they are born prematurely. If doctors and other medical personnel aren’t careful or they use too much force, injuries can occur.
What You Can Do to Lower Your Baby’s Risk
Some birth trauma will not be avoidable, but there are steps you can take to give your baby the best shot at a safe arrival. The best way to prevent a birth injury is to lower your own risk of needing interventions during labor.
Be sure to visit your obstetrician for your regularly scheduled appointments and take prenatal vitamins. Eat healthily, stay active when possible, and make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations. If something seems “off,” be sure to contact your doctor.
The doctor you choose can also influence whether or not your baby suffers a birth injury. Choose a doctor you feel comfortable communicating with and make sure to check out their references. You should also check out the doctor’s background and credentials.
During labor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask a nurse to explain the process and let hospital personnel know if something doesn’t feel right. You can also ask questions about electronic fetal monitoring. If you hear any alarms, notify your medical team immediately so they can act quickly to respond to any fetal distress.
For more information about how to deliver your baby click the link to learn more about your options.