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What are Birth Injuries? 6 Steps Expectant Mothers can Take to Prevent Them

birth injuries

A birth injury is an illness, injury or a problem that affects the baby before or during the delivery. The delivery process is excruciating and delicate, and the slightest problems can cause injuries in children. Most of the time, these injuries tend to heal naturally. But often, they can cause long-term disabilities, which can hinder everyday life. Therefore, it is vital to seek treatment and medical help from doctors when you suspect something is wrong during pregnancy or after delivery. 

Different types of birth injuries

One of the major types of birth injury is perinatal asphyxia, defined as insufficient oxygen flow for the baby during birth. It mainly occurs when the blood flow is restricted, leading to cerebral palsy. Another type of birth injury is Erb’s palsy, caused by brachial plexus injuries. This injury typically happens when the nurse or midwife pulls the child with too much force, stretching their nerves. Additionally, immediate or long-term disorders and diseases can result from a birth injury, including autism, behavioral problems, congenital heart defects, preeclampsia, fetal strokes, hypoglycemia, etc. 

Preventative measures expectant mothers can take 

Preventative measures are of many types. They range from avoiding certain things and activities to taking precautionary steps. Preventive measures can help mothers prevent any toxic material from harming their baby’s health. Moreover, avoiding some activities ensures a safe pregnancy and delivery. In addition, these measures help doctors identify health problems that can cause any birth injury early on and treat them before they negatively impact the baby’s health. 

Even though birth injuries may still result from several factors beyond a mother’s control, there are some ways to minimize their risks. Therefore, let us discuss some measures expectant mothers can take to prevent birth injuries. They are:

1. Stop smoking 

Smoking not only negatively affects your lungs but can also harm your unborn baby if you continue during pregnancy. As is, smoking causes babies to have a low birth weight. The low birth weight also increases the chances of birth injury, as the baby’s body is more fragile. Moreover, small babies are less robust and susceptible to injuries and illnesses. Therefore, make sure to quit smoking for the sake of your baby’s health.

2. Stop drinking alcohol or taking drugs

Drinking alcohol or taking any drugs during pregnancy increases the chances of birth injury. It doesn’t matter if the drugs you consume are prescribed to you or recreational. Any kind of drug and alcohol is harmful to the baby’s health. The reason is that they negatively impact the brain and body development of the fetus in the womb. However, some medicines and OTC drugs are tested and proven safe to consume during pregnancy. For this reason, whenever you go to a doctor for any ailment, always inform them of your pregnancy so they can prescribe medicines accordingly.

3. Take folic acid supplements 

Folic acid is an important supplement often missing in our daily diet. However, it is crucial for the baby’s development in the womb. Therefore, you must start taking folic acid supplements daily, especially in the first trimester. Using folic acid supplements daily helps prevent neural tube defects in the baby, including spina bifida. Spina bifida is a condition that occurs when the baby’s spine doesn’t fully close during fetal development. However, regular intake of folic acid supplements can help reduce the risks of neural tube defects in your baby. 

4. Attend all appointments 

Another important method of preventing birth injuries is to ensure that you get a regular medical examination. You must attend all of the prenatal appointments that your doctor recommends. Prenatal care is crucial in preventing birth injuries. It allows your healthcare provider to track the baby’s development and health and keep a check on your health. They give you recommendations about how to go through the pregnancy easily and what kind of diet and supplements you need for a carefree pregnancy and delivery.

Moreover, if the caregiver anticipates any problem or catches any issues, they can prevent it by treating it immediately before it causes more damage. Additionally, the caregiver keeps track of any signs of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes which require immediate treatment. Lastly, your caregiver will also guide you about which delivery method is most suitable for you, considering your condition and that of your baby.

5. Communicate with the doctor

As you will be visiting the obstetrician throughout the pregnancy, you have to be vocal about your concerns. This includes your concerns regarding your baby’s health and yours as well. Therefore, don’t shy away from asking any questions or discussing issues that concern you. Moreover, you must also be honest about your daily routine to ensure that your hobbies or activities don’t negatively impact the baby. Hence, communicating about everything openly is the best way to prevent birth injuries.

6. Be aware of what happens in the delivery room 

Standard practice is that the midwife or doctors continually inform parents about what is happening. But they are busy, and they may not be as open as you would like them to be. Therefore, if you have any questions and concerns at that stage, don’t be scared of asking them. However, you should know that the midwife or doctor is keeping a check on the fetus’s heartbeat and keeping track of the contractions, along with many other matters. Therefore, feel free to ask them about these details or raise any questions about the procedure if you like.

Conclusion

Motherhood is a wonderful feeling, and you clearly wouldn’t want anything to ruin that experience for you. Therefore, taking preventative steps to experience a stress-free pregnancy and delivery is necessary. But an essential part of this process is to stay true to yourself. You will have to learn to discipline yourself and be open to learning and questioning everything. Taking such measures might help prevent birth injuries.

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