What Parents Can Do to Prevent Birth Injuries

By Peter DePaolis

An injury sustained during labor or delivery is a birth injury. In the United States, birth injuries occur at a rate of about six to eight babies out of every 1,000 live births. Some of the more common birth injuries include:

  • Brain damage
  • Bone fractures
  • Bruising
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Facial paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Skull fracture

Some birth injuries result in lifelong mental or physical impairments. When medical malpractice is to blame, parents may be entitled to compensation that can help offset the cost of their child’s ongoing treatment and care. An experienced personal injury attorney helps parents hold medical professionals and healthcare facilities accountable for their negligence.

What Expectant Parents Can Do

Parents can begin taking steps to minimize their baby’s risk of injury at birth as soon as they know they are expecting. Here are some tips for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Seek prenatal care early and take prenatal vitamins
  • Choose a qualified obstetrician with whom you feel comfortable
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations concerning diet and exercise
  • Ask your doctor about foods and drinks you should avoid and always check with your doctor before taking any new medications
  • Notify your doctor if you become sick or feel anything abnormal
  • Monitor your baby’s movements during the final weeks of pregnancy by taking “kick counts” and alert your doctor if there’s a decrease in activity
  • Openly discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor

A healthy pregnancy helps to reduce the risk of complications during labor and delivery.

At the Hospital

By pre-registering with the hospital, you can avoid filling out paperwork when you arrive in labor. Once you’re at the hospital, you can help ensure the birthing process goes as smoothly as possible by:

  • Asking a nurse to explain the process
  • Requesting that you be familiarized with any electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) equipment that will be used
  • Keeping an eye on the EFM equipment and notifying a doctor or nurse if there are any alarms or sudden changes
  • Letting a doctor or nurse know if something doesn’t feel right
  • Asking questions and voicing concerns

If a complication arises, it is important for medical personnel to act quickly and make sound medical decisions for both mother and baby. If a doctor or nurse failed to respond to fetal distress, mishandled a vacuum extractor, forceps, or other medical equipment, did not anticipate potential complications, or otherwise erred during any stage of pregnancy, you may have a case under medical malpractice law. To learn about your legal rights, contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.