Birth is arguably one of the most amazing and natural moments in a mother’s life. They are bringing new life to the world and in the process creating an unbreakable bond that they will nurture for the rest of their lives. However, as natural as this may be, giving birth can be traumatic for both the mother and child. It can leave mother and child with life changing injuries. If somebody is injured at the expense of another or if a cosmetic hospital operation goes wrong, the news spreads far and wide. National news channels may often end up covering such stories. So why don’t people talk about the after affects of a birth gone wrong?
What happens when things go wrong
The subject is still considered taboo and many women are too embarrassed to speak out. Traumatic births are overlooked, with women left unable to seek support. But the truth is, there are things that can go wrong during a hospital birth, with these leaving both emotional and financial difficulties as a result. It is therefore important for them to be able to reach out for legal consultation. As a result, legal experts must gain an insight into the potential difficulties that can occur during birth.
A child is particularly vulnerable during this stage of their life. Fractures and other injuries can occur more easily during the birth process. Whilst these may heal relatively quickly, they may cause long term deformities and discomfort. This can also be traumatic to the child during the early stages of life. Moreover, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a child has been injured immediately as some difficulties can be genetic. This can prolong the process of getting injuries dealt with quickly.
In addition to the baby being at risk, the mother is pushed to her physical limit during birth and can incur serious injuries as a result. Whilst some injuries, including pain, discomfort and minimal incontinence, are normal, there can be more serious injuries. Many women suffer from tears, pelvic fractures and and muscle damage – with this often left undiagnosed. Mothers regularly put up with these injuries, believing they are just the normal effects of childbirth; they can also be embarrassing for mothers to discuss. This is perhaps why many women will put off seeking help.
Risks to the baby
During the first stages of a baby’s life (and during birth), their bones are a lot more flexible than adults. This enables them to fit through the birth canal as their tiny body’s can bend and compress. Whilst this fragility eases the birthing process, it also means that their bones are more fragile and susceptible to injury. This means that the baby’s bone can fracture during birth, which can be painful but usually heal relatively quickly. However, if these go undetected, the baby may suffer from deformities. This is why it’s important for medical professionals to identify this early.
Moreover, a baby’s skull is purposefully flexible at this age, enabling easier passage through the birth canal. However, this also makes the baby vulnerable to brain damage if the skull is damaged during birth. If the baby is subject to trauma, oxygen starvation or compression, the blood flow could be disrupted. This would make the child vulnerable to brain injury or damage.
Furthermore, a baby’s nervous system is in the early stages of development and is also hugely complex. Any disturbances to the nervous system during the birth could result in complexities, injuries and side effects. Damage can be caused by compression of the nerves, stretching or even severing. This can cause a variety of symptoms including respiratory problems, a loss of feeling in limbs, facial paralysis, blindness or in extreme cases full body paralysis.
Risks to the mother
Whilst many women are expecting birth to throw up some minor problems, some births can be extremely difficult and complex, causing potential damage to the mother. Among the most common injuries during birth is perineal tearing. This is the laceration of soft tissue from the vagina to the anus. Whilst perineal tearing can vary in severity, some women may experience significant bleeding and long term pain. Because of this, it is important to get the issue correctly diagnosed.
Women may also experience muscle tearing during birth which can cause long-term symptoms of discomfort and incontinence. If they continue to feel pain or significant incontinence more than six weeks after birth, it might be best for women to consult a doctor.
During delivery, doctors may also make the decision to perform a C-section, particularly if there are complications with the natural birth. This brings with it new risks to the mother, including potential damage to internal organs (particularly the bladder), as well an anesthesia risks.
Women are also at risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy which can cause serious issues for both mother and baby. This can be monitored safely with regular check ups where medical professionals look for signs of high blood pressure and swelling.
Whilst places such as a hospital are dedicated to providing the best care in a safe and secure environment, increased pressure and fewer staff can lead to potential human complications during birth. The above injuries have many causes, including genetics and difficult labour. It is possible, however, for some injuries to occur due to human error or negligence. This can have life changing effects and medical staff should be held accountable for mistakes.
In cases where a child is injured during the birthing process, they can be subjected to life changing effects. This may mean that the child requires constant care for the rest of their lives. The parents are therefore required to devote themselves to the lifelong care of their child. This can end up being extremely time consuming and expensive. However, the financial worries may not compare to the emotional strain of watching a child grow up with a disability, many of which lead to a shorter life expectancy.
In cases where specialist hospital and care equipment is needed, the costs can be even higher as parents attempt to provide the best quality of life for their child.
Birth injury compensation
An injury to either mother or baby during birth can be extremely unsettling and can leave lifelong scars – both physically and emotionally. Mothers may suffer constant pain, embarrassment and significant incontinence. Babies may grow up with life changing injuries, adding emotional and financial strain to the family.
When providing legal advice, if there is evidence to suggest that mother or child have suffered as a result of negligence on the part of the healthcare professionals and provider at the hospital, it is important to find out as much as possible about the incident. You should review any evidence the family may have collected so far. They may be able to claim compensation for birth injury negligence to cover any costs incurred, as well as the physical and emotional impact of the incident.