Bringing a new life into this world is no easy feat for a woman. She has to endure a tremendous amount of struggle and pain to reach the joy of becoming a parent. However, immense happiness can also quickly turn into distress if complications arise during the process and the newborn experiences some birth-related injury.
A birth-related injury is an injury that occurs due to the stress of labor and delivery during childbirth. The usual cause is the pressure of the birthing process on the child. But there are other reasons too such as:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Trauma from delivery impact
- Premature birth
- Medical negligence
- Umbilical cord problems
The good news is that birth-related procedures have advanced to a point where a newborn’s chances of incurring an injury are rare. However, they are still not unheard of. Most of the minor injuries heal without needing any primary treatment. But there are some severe cases when immediate medical assistance is required. There are also some cases when there is no cure for a birth-related injury, resulting in life-long disability and trauma for the child and its parents. Some of the most common birth-related injuries and other health-related issues include brain damage, cerebral palsy, newborn jaundice, spinal cord injuries, cephalohematoma, etc. But some procedures and protocols can help in preventing such injuries. They are:
Proper prenatal care
While genetic health problems are inevitable, proper parental care during pregnancy can help avoid many problems such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a result of inadequate brain development in the womb or brain damage during childbirth. It can cause delays in growth as well as a lack of muscle and speech control. You can read more about the types to determine the proper precautionary methods for such an injury. One of these preventative methods is good prenatal care. By controlling underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure problems, etc., pregnant women can avert the crisis considerably. A mother should also avoid exposure to viruses and infections and seek immediate medical help in any situation during pregnancy as these may affect the unborn child’s brain development.
Detecting and addressing signs of fetal distress
It is essential to look out for signs of fetal distress during pregnancy and the childbirth process. In case of any abnormality, address the problem immediately and seek medical help. While medical professionals monitor the mother and the baby during her trimesters, these complications can also occur during the labor. Some common alarming signs and symptoms include.
Some symptoms to look out for are:
- Decreased movement in the baby
- Abnormal heart rate of the mother or child
- Abnormal fluid volume
- Abnormal physical features
- Vaginal bleeding
- Weight loss or extreme weight gain of the mother
In the unlikely event that women experience one or a combination of these, it is best to immediately reach out to a doctor to prevent future problems for both the child and the mother.
Preventing premature birth and minimizing risks
The reason premature birth is dangerous is that a child has a weak immune system and underdeveloped organs. Such factors increase the risk of birth-related injuries and brain damage to the infant. But there are a few medical procedures that can help in avoiding premature birth. These includes:
- Cervical cerclage: temporary stitches to keep the cervix closed until the baby is ready for delivery
- Progesterone injections to regulate/control the labor
- Magnesium sulfate dosage to premature labor
However, there are some cases where premature birth is inevitable or even necessary. Medical professionals administer certain hormones, salts, and medicines to avoid early labor and accelerated organ development of the child in such cases. These preventive methods are preferable to reduce the chances of delivering a child with underdeveloped organs and reduce brain damage during the delivery.
Understanding when to opt-out of a normal delivery
There are certain instances when vaginal delivery is not possible or dangerous for the child and the mother. In this case, a C-section becomes necessary to avoid a fatality. In the most typical conditions, doctors opt for a C-section if the child weighs more than 11 pounds. This route is also preferable if the mother has diabetes if the baby weighs 10 pounds and above. Other complications that lead to C-section deliveries are:
- Prolonged labor
- Umbilical cord compression
- Fetal distress
- Uterine rupture
- Maternal infection
If the baby or the mother faces these problems, then a C-section is necessary. In such cases, vaginal delivery and other less invasive methods can prolong the risks of birth-related injuries. So whenever such complications arise, parents must carefully consider the benefits and risks of each technique before making a convenient choice.
Providing proper care in NICU
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a specific unit that assists in caring for babies, especially those that suffer from birth-related injuries and premature birth complications. As the baby is most fragile in such a condition, parents and medical professionals must provide proper care to prevent the damage from worsening. Only after the newborn’s vitals are stable should it be discharged from the facility.
Pregnancy and childbirth are no less than a miracle. Nonetheless, parents must practice utmost care during the pregnancy period and make choices that help avoid birth-related problems for the mother and child. On the other hand, it is equally necessary to choose the best medical assistance possible because mistakes can lead to dangerous, life-altering situations. Medical malpractice, misdiagnosis, and lack of care can result in birth-related injuries and childbirth complications. Eventually, it is always better to be safe than sorry.