Giving birth is a miraculous yet risky experience. Birth injuries occur in about 2 out of every 100 births, ranging from minor to devastating. While many birth injuries are unavoidable, some may be preventable with better care.
When planning a baby, it is essential to be aware of the risks associated with childbirth and know what to do if something goes wrong. Understanding the risks and knowing where to find help can help keep yourself and your child safe during birth. Without further ado, let us get straight to the topic.
What is a Birth Injury?
Deliveries, whether vaginal or cesarean, come with a risk of injury to the baby. It can be a physical injury sustained during birth or a neurological injury that occurs when the baby’s brain is damaged. Birth injuries can also result from problems before or after delivery, such as placental abruption or shoulder dystocia.
It is critical to highlight that women are also at risk for injuries during childbirth. Injuries to the perineum (the area between the anus and vagina) are common, particularly in first-time mothers.
Parents must research and be aware of the different types of birth injuries. This way, they will know what signs and symptoms to look out for. Resources like www.childbirthinjuries.com can help parents become more informed.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can result from various factors, ranging from the mother’s health to the baby’s position during delivery. Some birth injuries, such as fractures, can occur when the baby is too large for the mother’s pelvis. Other injuries, such as nerve damage, can occur when the baby is in a breech (bottom-first) during delivery.
If we look at the statistics, external factors like medical negligence account for many cases. Maternal and fetal factors follow it.
Are Birth Injuries Preventable?
All parents want a healthy and safe delivery. Luckily, not all childbirth injuries are unavoidable. However, some steps can be taken to lower the risk of sustaining an injury during childbirth. We will look at some of those steps now.
Get Regular Prenatal Care
Prenatal care helps monitor the mother’s health and the baby’s development. Regular prenatal care can help identify potential problems early on and get the necessary treatment.
Some potential risks that can be detected and managed with prenatal care include the following:
- High blood pressure – causes an increased risk for placental abruption and preeclampsia
- Diabetes – can lead to macrosomia (a large baby)
- Infections – can be passed on to the baby and cause problems like pneumonia
- Anemia – can cause low birth weight
Your healthcare provider will also check the baby’s position during your prenatal appointment. If the baby is in a breech position, they recommend a cesarean delivery to prevent injuries during vaginal delivery. If you are persistent on a vaginal delivery, they will give you a few exercises like a bridge or pelvic tilt to help the baby move into the correct position.
Choose a Reputable Healthcare Provider
Regarding childbirth, your doctor is not the only healthcare provider you will be working with. You will also work with nurses, midwives, and other support staff. Therefore, ensuring that you are comfortable with all the staff involved in your delivery is vital.
You should also ensure that you are delivering at a reputable institution. Please research the hospital or birthing center’s policies and procedures and their cesarean and epidural rates.
You can also ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have had a positive experience with their childbirth provider. Some factors to account for when choosing a healthcare provider include:
- Do they have experience with high-risk pregnancies?
- Do they have a good reputation?
- Do they have a good support staff?
Consider Your Options for Pain Relief
Long hours in labor can be excruciating. They can also cause harm to the baby and the mother. Asphyxia, a condition where the baby does not get enough oxygen, is one of the risks associated with a long labor. You may also suffer from an infection like sepsis if the labor is too long.
To help manage pain and prevent these complications, you should consider your options for pain relief during childbirth. Pain relief options include:
- Epidural – A local anesthetic is injected into the lower back to numb the lower half of the body.
- Spinal block – A local anesthetic is injected into the lower back to numb the lower half of the body.
- Pudendal block – A local anesthetic is injected into the pudendal nerve to numb the vaginal and perineal area.
- General anesthesia – Medication is given to make you sleep through the delivery.
Each option has its risks and benefits. Discuss your options with your OB-GYN to make sure that you are making the best decision for yourself.
Prepare Your Body for the Strain of Childbirth
Preparing your body for the strain of childbirth is important. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining physical health will help to keep your body in good shape.
By healthy diet, we don’t mean crash dieting or anything like that. You should aim to eat various healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Caffeine and alcohol are best reduced as they can cause dehydration. Dehydration can cause contractions, leading to more prolonged and more painful labor. It can also cause jaundice in newborns.
Some specific exercises can help to prepare your body for childbirth. For example, Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and rectum. Strong pelvic floor muscles can help prevent incontinence and prolapse and make labor and delivery easier.
Among other exercises, perineal massage can help to prepare the tissues in the vaginal and perineal area for stretching during childbirth. It can also help to reduce the risk of tearing.
Most parents are often unprepared for the reality of labor and delivery. Researching and preparing ahead of time can make the experience much easier for you. You should choose a reputable healthcare provider for a safe and positive experience. And don’t forget to attend your prenatal appointments.