Knowing about a minor issue, let alone a birth injury in a newborn, is devastating for parents who cannot see their child in slight pain. But countless parents have to go through this pain every year. Out of one thousand kids in the United States, up to ten are born with one or the other birth injury. The most traumatizing reality is that half of these birth injuries are avoidable.
It is not entirely in the hands of parents to control everything. But in many cases, some steps taken at the right time can avoid the birth injury, improving the quality of life of the parents and child considerably.
If you or someone closer to you is expecting a child, here are some steps to help avoid birth injury in the child.
1. Get to know your obstetrician
Once you know about your pregnancy, you must choose a doctor whom you will consult throughout the pregnancy. Some of you might prefer to consider recommendations based on the experience of your loved ones. In contrast, others want to go through this process independently and choose a doctor themselves.
Whatever way you choose to meet your doctor, make sure they have the right experience, credentials, and reputation.
Also, if there is any history related to your pregnancy, such as past difficulties in conceiving, weight gain, or age issues, you better choose a doctor who can address these concerns.
2. Get awareness about birth injuries
Before you take any preventive measures, you must get extensive knowledge about the issue. Acquiring knowledge about a problem is key to taking the proper steps.
You must understand what birth injuries are and how they affect your child. Visit online resources such as childbirthinjuries.com and the like to know about various birth injuries.
Also, understand the legal helps available to the parents of a child with a birth injury. Don’t forget to include your spouse in this process so that you both have ample knowledge about this matter.
3. Always attend your prenatal appointments
Your prenatal appointments are a way for you to communicate with your doctor at regular intervals. Most doctors recommend their patients visit them every month during the first seven months of the pregnancy. These visits become more frequent during the next two months until the 36th week of pregnancy.
Prenatal visits help your doctor determine the risk associated with your pregnancy. Plus, doctors conduct various tests during these appointments to prevent minor problems from becoming major issues.
Prenatal appointments are a perfect opportunity for you to discuss with your doctor even the most minor issues you might be facing. You can ask anything you want to relieve your stress and anxiety.
Also, be honest about past habits and issues, such as smoking, alcohol, or any risk factors that may affect the growth and development of the baby.
4. Eat a healthy diet
Diet is an important aspect of keeping your baby healthy during pregnancy. A healthy diet provides the baby with the required nutrients and encourages optimal growth. A healthy baby and mother can withstand the pressure and resistance of birth, especially a vaginal birth.
For a healthy pregnancy and baby, you must consume approximately 300 more calories daily in addition to your regular diet. Ensure these additional calories come from a balanced diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, fibers, and essential vitamins.
Taking fiber-rich foods helps digestion and prevents constipation, which can be discomforting for the child and the mother.
5. Ask the doctor about the scene in the labor room
The day of delivery is often hectic for the patient and the doctors. Often the burden of catering to the needs of too many patients causes the doctor to make mistakes. Often these mistakes are so severe that they cause a birth injury in your child.
Whether it is a busy day or not, there is no excuse for medical professionals to be careless in their duty. Therefore, parents and family members must ask the doctor about things happening in the labor room and the mother’s and child’s health.
You can ask how the mother is doing, the child’s heartbeat, how long the process will continue, or if there is any complication in the delivery. Being involved in the whole process causes the medical team to stay on their toes and be careful about what they do.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking is a death sentence for the health and well-being of your unborn child. Smoking may cause low birth weight, stillbirth, premature birth, and many other developmental abnormalities. Due to unsatisfactory growth, your baby gets exposed to a higher risk of birth injuries.
The nicotine in cigarettes is detrimental to the baby’s brain and lung development. During pregnancy, the concentration of this substance is more in the fetus’s blood than in a gestational mother. With it, the chances of intrauterine growth restriction increase too. Mothers who smoke during pregnancy expose their unborn babies to secondhand smoke.
The ideal time to abandon smoking is before conceiving the baby. The benefit of quitting early is that your body gets a chance to remove the toxins and repair the damage caused by smoking. But even if you are pregnant but haven’t quit smoking yet, do it now to prevent your child from more damage.
7. Don’t drink alcohol
Regarding pregnancy and your unborn child’s health, there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption. Even the amount of alcohol considered moderate in routine becomes dangerous for the baby.
Alcohol transfers from the mother to the baby through the baby’s placenta. Therefore, if you don’t stop drinking alcohol, its concentration in your baby will be similar to that in your blood.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the perils of the unborn child’s physical and behavioral development issues. Alcohol hampers the brain development of your baby. And since brain development happens throughout the pregnancy, the earlier you quit, the better.
Alcohol consumption by gestational mothers is linked to premature birth, stillbirth, and low birth weight. Babies with growth issues cannot withstand the difficulties of labor; they have weak muscles and bones. Therefore, their chances of suffering from a birth injury increase considerably.
Protecting your child from birth injuries during and after pregnancy takes a lot. You cannot do much about the medical negligence of a doctor. But a lot can be done on your part to save your child from these lifelong problems. A few of those ways are mentioned in the article above; read them to be aware.