Birth injuries occur for a multitude of reasons and can affect both the baby and the mother. Some birth injuries are unexpected and cannot be prevented. However, there are some steps that expectant mothers can take to reduce the risk of their baby being injured during delivery.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, which can increase the risk of the baby suffering a birth injury. Smaller babies are less robust than normal sized babies and more susceptible to damage during delivery. It is never too late to stop smoking during pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol and taking drugs (either recreational or prescription) can lead to birth injuries as alcohol and many drugs are known to negatively affect the development of the brain in the fetus. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs have been proven safe to take during pregnancy. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure.
Folic acid is a nutrient that is missing in many diets and is vital for fetal development. Taking a folic acid supplement for at least two months prior to conception and throughout pregnancy (particularly the first trimester) can help to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Spina bifida occurs when the spine does not close fully around the spinal cord during the development of the fetus. Taking a folic acid supplement regularly can greatly reduce the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect.
Ensure that you attend all prenatal appointments recommended by your doctor or midwife. Prenatal care can help to prevent many birth injuries as it allows your caregiver to track your condition and that of your developing fetus. Your caregiver can anticipate problems or catch them early enough to prevent any lasting damage. Your caregiver will watch you for signs of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which can seriously harm your baby if not treated right away. Your caregiver will monitor your baby’s growth and may recommend delivery by cesarean section if your baby appears to be too small or too large to handle a vaginal delivery.
Some birth injuries are caused by the negligence of doctors, nurses or other medical professionals. If your child was injured during or prior to delivery you may have questions for a birth injury lawyer. One of the birth injury lawyers at Girones can provide you with the advice that you need to protect your family.