The upcoming birth of a child is meant to be a joyous and exciting one. However, complications can arise as both babies and mothers are at risk of injury during the birthing process. Read on to find a few things you should consider to ensure that you can prevent injuries to you and your baby.
What is Birth Injury?
Birth injuries are essentially physical injuries that can occur during childbirth and affect the mother and/or baby. Birth injuries to the baby — known as neonatal trauma — can involve a range of things, including bruises, broken bones, or brain injuries.
For mothers, injuries typically occur in the perineal area or the pelvic floor. Perineal injuries usually involve tears, nerve damage, or haemorrhoids, while pelvic injuries consist of muscle damage or pelvic organ prolapse. Although some of these injuries can be serious, most of them are minor and will heal fairly quickly. However, there are ways to prevent injuries to both the baby and mother, as described below.
Get Proper Prenatal Care
It is important during your pregnancy to ensure that you’re getting regular check-ups and that your doctors are doing their due diligence. This includes prenatal testing for things like abnormalities, potential infections, heart rate abnormalities, whether the baby is breech, and if there are any umbilical cord problems. By catching these things early, it can be easier to prevent serious birth injuries.
Expectant mothers can also help prevent injuries by exercising regularly and doing pelvic floor exercises. These will help strength the muscles around the birthing area and help prevent any prolapses or tears. Strong muscles and a healthy heart also greatly ease labour and delivery. Just make sure that you’re doing pregnancy-safe exercises so that you and the baby are protected.
Ensure Babies Receive Proper Care
Sometimes injuries at birth can be caused by medical accidents or negligence. While some of this is out of our control, it’s important to ensure that your baby is getting the best care possible. This is especially the case if your baby is premature and is spending time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Medical professionals will do their utmost to ensure that babies are kept safe and cared for; however, some mistakes do occur when it comes to medical care and the birth process itself. If you or your baby have been injured, you can file a brain injury at birth claim and get compensation.
Avoid Smoking, Drinking,
This is an obvious point to make, but it’s one worth reiterating. Smoking can cause smaller birth weight, and babies that are underweight are more susceptible to injury during birth. Alcohol and some prescription drugs should also be avoided as they can negatively affect the development of the baby’s brain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any prescription medications. These precautions can help prevent birth injury both before and after the baby arrives.
Take Folic Acid
Folic acid is an important supplement for expectant mothers, especially as this nutrient is missing in many modern diets. Folic acid is important for preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida and should be taken at least two months prior to conception and throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Taking a folic acid supplement will greatly reduce the risk of birth injury and defects.