Birth injuries come in all levels of severity. Some may be as simple as a bruise that heals within days. In contrast, others can be much more serious, resulting in lifelong complications or even death. While many factors contribute to the risk of birth injuries, medical negligence and an unhealthy lifestyle are two of the most common.
Woefully, there is no surefire way to prevent all birth injuries. However, there are steps you can take to lower the risk. If you plan to conceive, arm yourself with knowledge and be as proactive as possible. Here are a few tips:
1. Know More About The Potential Risks
You might have some basic knowledge about birth injuries, but do you know all the different types? Do you know what causes them? The more you know about the risks, the better you can handle them.
Start by learning about different types of birth injuries and what causes them. For instance, shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery. It can happen due to the baby being larger than average or the mother having a small pelvis. Similarly, cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain, which can occur during pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth. Some other conditions that you must be aware of include the following:
- Erb’s palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Facial paralysis
- Skull fractures
There are resources like www.childbirthinjuries.com that can help you gain a better understanding of these conditions.
2. Choose The Right Healthcare Provider
Your healthcare provider plays a crucial role in ensuring safe delivery. They’ll be responsible for carrying out all the prenatal checkups, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with them. They’ll also be with you during labor and delivery, so you must trust them.
As we mentioned, a significant number of cases are a result of medical negligence. So, you must invest time in finding a healthcare provider that you can trust. You must look into their qualifications, experience, and success rate. Once you’ve found a few providers that fit the bill, please schedule an appointment to meet them. It is an exhausting yet important task that’ll be worth it in the end.
Testimonials from other patients can help make your decision. You can also look for reviews online or ask for recommendations from friends and family. If you’re uncertain whether you can trust your current provider, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
3. Don’t Miss Your Prenatal Appointments
Prenatal appointments are important because they help keep you and your baby healthy. They also give your healthcare provider a chance to catch any potential problems.
During these appointments, your provider will check your blood pressure, weight, and urine. They’ll also check the baby’s heartbeat and development. These appointments are usually scheduled once a month for the first 28 weeks. Followed by every two weeks until 36 weeks, and finally, once a week until you give birth.
Some issues that can be detected and treated during prenatal appointments include:
- High blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
- Infections like UTIs
- Thyroid problems
These can be controlled with medication or lifestyle changes. In addition, fetal issues like umbilical cord problems can also be detected and treated. So, you mustn’t miss your appointments. If you can’t make it to one, request an online consultation or reschedule for a time that works better for you.
4. Be Vigilant Of Fetal Distress
It’s more of a feeling than an actual medical condition, but fetal distress can signify something is wrong. So, it’s important to trust your instincts and be vigilant of any changes.
Fetal distress can manifest in different ways. For instance, you might feel that the baby isn’t moving as much as usual. Alternatively, you might notice a change in the baby’s heart rate during a routine checkup.
If unsure, don’t hesitate to call your provider or go to the hospital. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
For healthcare providers, it is especially important to monitor for fetal distress during labor. It is because it can be a sign of problems like umbilical cord entrapment or placental abruption. If untreated, these can lead to serious complications like fetal death.
5. Don’t Take Your Prenatal Vitamins For Granted
Prenatal vitamins are vital for a healthy pregnancy. They help ensure that you and your baby get the nutrients you need. Unfortunately, some women avoid taking them because of nausea and vomiting that can accompany them. However, you can handle these side effects easily.
You can take them with food or at bedtime. Alternatively, you can try a different brand or formula. If nausea and vomiting are severe, your provider might prescribe medication.
Here are a few vitamins that you must get enough of during pregnancy:
- Folic acid – helps prevent damage to the baby’s brain and spine
- Vitamin D – helps the baby’s bones develop
- Iron – prevents anemia
Talk to your provider about taking supplements if you feel you’re not getting enough of these vitamins from your diet. Some women might need to take more than the recommended amount.
6. Exercise Regularly
Some women treat pregnancy as a time to relax and put up their feet. However, moderate exercise is good for you and your baby. It can help improve your mood, reduce stress, and prevent excessive weight gain.
Torn ligaments, varicose veins, and constipation are common pregnancy complaints that can be alleviated with exercise.
Start with moderate to low-impact activities like walking or prenatal yoga. If you were active before pregnancy, you could usually continue your current routine. Kegels are also a good idea. These exercises help tone the pelvic floor muscles, making delivery easier.
As your pregnancy progresses, you might need to modify your workouts. For example, you might need to switch from running to swimming. However, as long as you listen to your body, exercise can be a great way to stay healthy during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a life-changing experience, and you want it to be worth it. While you depend on your medical team to a certain extent, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of birth injuries. Physical and mental preparation is key to a smooth and complication-free pregnancy. So, be mindful of what you put into your body, exercise regularly, and follow your provider’s instructions. We wish you a smooth and healthy pregnancy.