Causes and Risk Factors for Birth Injury 9By Michael Monheit, Esq. - Philadelphia Lawyer Any injury that is caused to the fetus in the course of childbirth, regardless of whether the injury is during or after delivery, is known as a birth injury. Some causes and risk factors for birth injury can result in cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, etc. Although most birth injuries cannot be predicted, there are many factors that may increase the chances of the baby being injured during childbirth. This article elaborates on all those factors that make a birth high risk. Factors That Increase Risk To Baby 1. Maternal Age: The risk to baby increases if the mother is too young (in her teens for example), or is above the age of 35. Very young mothers may not know how to care for the fetus or themselves during pregnancy, which may increase the chances of a pre-term birth that can be harmful for the fetus. As for women over 35, they are more at risk for gestational diabetes and other medical conditions that can endanger the life of the unborn baby. 2. Maternal Obesity: The weight of the mother is an important criterion in the assessment of risk for birth injury. If maternal Body Mass Index (BMI) is more than 29.0 kg/m2 before pregnancy, then the woman is considered to be obese. Being obese puts her at risk for the following conditions:
- Maternal hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Post-term gestation
- Fetal macrosomia
- Existing Diabetes: This is when the woman has diabetes from before she conceived.
- Gestational Diabetes: After becoming pregnant, a woman's body may sometimes become resistant to insulin due to the various hormonal changes occurring in her body because of the pregnancy. Such diabetes that comes on during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes.
- Fetal Macrosomia: Fetal Macrosomia is the medical term that is used to describe babies that are significantly larger than normal. If fetal weight is already at or more than 4500 grams, or is estimated to go up to more than that, then the fetus is said to be macrosomic.
- Although fetal macrosomia may affect any fetus, babies of mothers with diabetes are at a higher risk for macrosomia. The source of all the vital nutrients a fetus receives is its mother's blood. A woman with maternal diabetes has high levels of glucose in her blood; because of which the baby's pancreas secrete extra insulin in order to break down this added glucose. All the extra glucose gets stored as fat, thus increasing the size of the fetus.
- Hypoglycemia: The fetus of a woman with maternal diabetes has high levels of insulin in its blood due to the increased glucose in the mother's blood.
- Excessively large baby: A baby born past its due date is more likely to be excessively large than babies born before 42 weeks. Such babies are at higher risk for shoulder dystocia and Erb's palsy as explained earlier.
- Assisted deliveries: If a baby is past its due date, labor may have to be induced and it is more likely that the delivery will be assisted with forceps and vacuum suction devices. And in such assisted deliveries, the risk of birth injury to the fetus increases significantly.
- Meconium aspiration: When a baby is born later than 42 weeks, there is a danger of the baby breathing in fluid that contains its meconium (first stool). This is known as meconium aspiration and can be dangerous to the baby.
- Aging placenta: A pregnant woman supplies its fetus with oxygen and important nutrients through her placenta. In a post term pregnancy, the placenta may start to age and can stop working optimally. This interferes with the oxygen and nutrient supply to the baby because of which it can stop growing. Decreased oxygen supply also puts the baby in grave danger during labor.
When Do Labor and Delivery Start? 3When you conceive and become pregnant, your body begins to prepare to give birth. Pregnancy is considered to be full-term about 38 weeks from fertilization, i.e. approximately 40 weeks from the start of the last menstruation. Thus, pregnancy lasts about nine months. So when do labor and delivery start for most mothers? Every labor and delivery is different. How long the labor lasts and how fast or slow it progresses differs from woman to woman and from birth to birth. Some women experience very distinct signs of labor, while others do not. There are several early symptoms that reveal that your labor is about to start and your baby is going to be born. Among these early labor symptoms are loose bowel movements. The intestine commonly empties just before labor starts. A quick decrease in the level of hormone progesterone is being considered for causing this effect. Another early sign of labor is a feeling of shivering or trembling that you might experience without any sensation of cold or weakness. Passing the mucus plug from the vagina (this is also called the "bloody show") is a common early sign of labor, as well. This may happen one day or several weeks before labor begins, or after a vaginal exam. Labor can also start with a trickle or gush of water from the vagina. This means that the bag of water, meaning the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby, has broken. No one knows exactly what causes labor and delivery to start or why so many pregnancies become overdue. One of the recent studies published in European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology (Vol. 132, June 2007) revealed that when the level of specific mRNA molecules in mother's blood circulation increases, the labor is about to begin. What is interesting is that these molecules are of fetal origin. Could it be so that the baby sends a signal to the mother's body that it's time to deliver? What if the mother's body doesn't recognize this message? Could that be one of the reasons why so many pregnancies become overdue and EDD are passed? Holistic approaches aim to maintain an ideal balance and help our bodies to function better in various situations of life. This is how these methods help the mother's body to be more sensitive to mutual communication between the mother and the baby during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Maternity Acupressure is a natural holistic method that helps the mother's body to prepare for childbirth. Maternity Acupressure is beneficial, also, for the baby because it helps the baby to take the optimal position for the birth and to be engaged into the mother's pelvis. Maternity Acupressure method can also be used to induce the labor naturally if the pregnancy is already overdue. Because of the high success rate, Maternity Acupressure has quickly become a popular natural labor induction remedy used by many professional pregnancy and labor caregivers. As Maternity Acupressure uses only application of pressure on specific spots on the skin, it can be safely used at home with basic instructions. Studies prove that over 83% of pregnant mothers using acupressure to induce labor naturally experience a normal and natural childbirth with significantly less medical interventions than pregnant mothers who don't use this method. Additionally, they delivered their babies in shorter time without signs of hyper stimulation or distress. On the contrary, acupressure seems to avert the mother and the baby to become distressed during labor and delivery. Thus, holistic methods, such as Maternity Acupressure, might have a remarkably beneficial effect in preparing the mother and the baby for the birth that occurs at the right time in the most optimal manner. Article by Lena Leino, a Maternity Acupressure specialist. Maternity Acupressure is a holistic method for inducing labor naturally. If you are overdue and tired, visit her site, http://www.MaternityAcupressure.com , for more information about the Maternity Acupressure method and how you can you use this technique to start labor naturally at home, help cervix to dilate and stimulate labor contractions. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/olibac/1837033181/
War Against Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality 0According to The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health established in 2005, every year 10.6 million children under the age of five die of causes that are mostly preventable and manageable. Why the war against maternal, newborn and child mortality? Because half a million women die during pregnancy or birth, and another 10 million suffer from related complications. These statistics are staggering and heartbreaking. These are also the same statistics that the media and medical community use to scare women in developed countries. They try to lead us to believe that the reason the rates are so much lower than in undeveloped countries is because of modern obstetrical care. While modern obstetrical care does save some women and children without a doubt, they cannot take full credit for having a lower neonatal mortality rate than the average third world country. Most laboring mothers in developing countries do not have access to:
- Bacteria free running water
- A clean home for a birthing environment
- Sanitation systems
- education about proper hygiene, warmth, and breastfeeding
- Accurate information about birth
- Access to medical intervention in the event of an emergency
- Adequate prenatal nutrition
The Benefits of Waterbirthing 0Considering a waterbirth? Think about it this way.....Wouldn't a peaceful and serene birth, with a relaxed and focused mother be a wonderful way to bring a baby into this world? Having a waterbirth is an option for moms who want to give birth naturally. Childbirth is such a powerful experience for a woman. But, too often, women totally give up their power and gift of childbirth over to other people to control. Having a waterbirth gives the woman a feeling of empowerment and pride in being able to choose how she delivers her child. What about what the baby goes through? Just imagine that your little one is as cozy and warm as can be for the past 9 months. You have given that little wonder a warm and secure environment only to have him arrive in a cold, bright and noisy world. That is why waterbirthing is such a beautiful way to bring your little wonder into this world. Imagine the having your baby arrive in a warm, quite, safe and inviting environment where the first touch is your arms. I can't think of a more beautiful way to start a relationship. The benefits of waterbirthing is so numerous... here are just a few
- ease the pain of labor where only 10% of mom's ask for pain relief
- relaxation of mom
- can facilitate a slow labor
- relaxed pelvic floor
- relieve anxiety
- empowers the mom
- can increase blood circulation
- The women had shorter labors.
- Cervical dilatation was more efficient- 2.5 centimeters per hour compared with 1.25 centimeters per hour for mothers who did not take advantage of water during their labors.
- The descent of the babies was twice as fast.
- The women reported less pain.
- The cesarean section rate was one-third that of traditional hospital births.
- Mothers labeled "high-risk" because of high blood pressure showed a dramatic reduction in their blood pressure within minutes of immersion in the pool.