6 Ways to Help Prevent Birth Injuries


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Almost 3 million babies are born in the United States every year. While most births occur without incident, birth injuries can still happen. Statistics show that nearly 1 in 10 newborns experience a birth injury. While many of these injuries are minor and can be treated quickly and easily, some can cause long-term health problems for the child.

There are various causes of birth injuries. Some are due to problems with the mother’s health, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Complications can cause others during labor and delivery, such as if the baby is too large or in an abnormal position. Medical errors or negligence can also lead to birth injuries in some cases.

What is a Birth Injury?

A shared perception of birth injuries is that they are always catastrophic. However, it is not the case. While some injuries can be quite severe, such as cerebral palsy, others are relatively minor. For example, a common birth injury is a bruised or fractured clavicle (collarbone). It usually happens when the baby’s head and shoulders are delivered first (known as “shoulder dystocia”).

Another common misconception is that only the child can suffer a birth injury. Mothers can sustain injuries during childbirth as well. For example, third or fourth-degree tears are lacerations that occur when the perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) tears during delivery.

There are ways to protect yourself in case of a birth injury due to medical negligence. With a birth injury lawsuit, you can help ensure that the at-fault doctor or hospital is held accountable and that your family receives the compensation you deserve.

While some birth injuries are due to factors beyond our control, you can take some steps to prevent them.

Say No to Teratogenic Substances:

Teratogenic substances include alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. They can cause severe congenital disabilities, including physical deformities, mental retardation, and developmental disabilities. So if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s essential to avoid these substances.

We understand it’s easier said than done to stop consuming these substances. If you can’t quit altogether, try to cut back as much as possible. You can opt for alternatives like nicotine gum or patches. There are many programs available to help you quit smoking.

As for alcohol, it’s best to avoid it altogether. However, we realize that’s not always possible or realistic. So, if you drink alcohol, make sure to do so in moderation. According to CDC, one drink per day for women is considered moderate.

Get Prenatal Care:

Prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy. It helps identify any potential problems early on to be treated before they cause serious harm.

Some of the things that your prenatal care provider will do are:

  • Take your medical history
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Check your blood pressure and urine
  • Test for STDs and anemia
  • Prescribe vitamins

You should start seeing a prenatal care provider as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can contact your local health department or community health center.

You may be able to avoid problems like preterm labor, high blood pressure, anemia, and infections with adequate prenatal care.

Eat Healthily:

Some women think they need to eat for two when they’re pregnant. However, you only need about 300 extra calories a day during the second and third trimesters.

It would be best to focus on eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods will give you the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.

You should also avoid unhealthy foods like processed meats, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine. These foods can increase your risk of developing complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

If you’re struggling to maintain your calorie intake or get the nutrients you need from food, talk to your doctor about prenatal vitamins.

Some essential vitamins like folic acid can help prevent congenital disabilities in the brain and spine.

Exercise Regularly:

Pregnancy is not your ticket to a sedentary lifestyle. On the contrary, exercise is good for you and your baby. In addition, it can help reduce your risk of developing complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and deep vein thrombosis.

You don’t have to start running marathons or anything. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is enough. Some examples of moderate exercise include walking, swimming, and light weight training.

Of course, you should always check with your doctor before starting or changing an exercise routine. They can help you develop a safety plan for yourself and your baby.

A trainer or fitness class designed for pregnant women is a great way to stay motivated and get support from other expectant mothers.

Get Enough Rest:

Sleep is vital for your health and well-being, but it can be hard to come by when you’re pregnant. In addition, you may have trouble sleeping due to back pain, bathroom trips, and pregnancy discomforts.

Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you can’t manage that, try to take a nap during the day.

There are also things you can do to help improve your sleep quality. For example, avoid eating big meals before bed or drinking too much caffeine. Instead, establish a sleep routine by going to bed and waking up everyday at the same time. You can also invest in a comfortable pregnancy pillow to help support your body. And, if all else fails, ask your partner for a soothing back massage with a therapeutic oil.

Keep Stress at Bay:

Stress management is crucial during pregnancy. Stress can lead to complications like preterm labor, low birth weight, and even miscarriage.

There are a few things you can do to manage stress during pregnancy. First, try to take some time for yourself every day. You can go out for a stroll, have a quick shopping session to purchase little things for the baby, or read your favorite book.

Secondly, try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible. If you have a lot on your plate, try to delegate some of your responsibilities to friends or family members.

And finally, meditate!

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it’s also when you need to be extra careful about your health. A huge responsibility falls on your shoulders when you’re carrying a child.

Now two people depend on you to stay healthy and free of injury. So start reading on ways to help prevent birth injuries and be sure to implement as many as possible.

However, don’t let the internet stories scare you. Be sure to consult with your doctor about any concerns and always take their advice over everything else.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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