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Annapolis Birth Injury Blog

For bigger babies, Erb's Palsy can be a concern

As many Maryland mothers know, there can be trepidation leading up to the birth of a baby, in addition to the excitement. Wondering about what a baby will be like or how the delivery will go can occupy a lot of brain space leading up to a baby's birth. The size of the baby can also be a concern, and one mothers should talk with their doctors about.

According to OrthoInfo.com, a large baby is more likely to have a difficult delivery that results in Erb's Palsy. This is a brachial plexus palsy, which means that it is a nerve injury in the neck that can make the baby's arm weak or paralyzed. Erb's Palsy occurs in one in every 1,000 babies when their necks are stretched too far to the side in a hard delivery. Many babies recovery with physical therapy, but not all. Since this is an injury that could affect a baby for their entire life, it is important for the pregnant mother to be consulting with her doctor to monitor the size of the baby.

Inadequate fetal monitoring can lead to birth injuries or death

Most women spend their pregnancy preparing for labor, delivery and life with a baby. That can mean birthing classes, breathing practices, turning an office into a nursery and picking the best OB/GYN around. Expectant mothers place a lot of trust in the medical professionals who attend their pregnancy and birth. Most of the time, doctors and nurses prove that the trust of their patients was well placed. Sometimes, however, people in the medical field can make mistakes.

When that mistake happens during labor and delivery, it can have life and death consequences for the family involved. One medical error that continues to happen is often inadequate fetal monitoring. When a mother comes to the hospital in labor, the staff will check her vital signs, including blood pressure and heart rate. They will also check the unborn baby's vital signs to ensure the child is healthy and not in distress. Failing to keep checking can have disastrous consequences.

Prenatal care basics

Expectant Maryland women and their partners should be able to enjoy the ancitipation and joy of their pregnancies as they look forward to a life with their new loved ones. Part of how this may be able to happen is through the receipt of proper prenatal care. By getting the right medical attention, pregnant moms should rest assured knowing they and their babies are in good hands.

Knowing what constitutes good prenatal care is important so people can advocate for themselves when and where needed. WebMD explains that even in pregnancies that appear to be trouble-free, women should expect to make regular visits to their doctors. The frequency of these visits should increase as the pregnancy advances with visits happening at least once a week in the last month of a full-term pregnancy.

$3 million verdict in birth injury case

Expectant parents across Maryland look forward to the birth of their child with hope and anticipation. However, when complication leads to an injury to the baby during his or her birth, there can be significant costs associated with the continued care of your child, in addition to the confusion and stress that comes in such a situation. A jury recently awarded a large sum to a family in such circumstances.

As USA Today reports, a Delaware jury came back with a $3 million verdict against a doctor who caused a birth injury when he pulled the baby out by his head in delivery. The child, who is now nine years old, suffered permanent damage to his shoulder. Prior to using this procedure in 2008, the doctor did not disclose the risk of the nerve damage occurring to the mother. The doctor is expected to keep his license.

Study shows benefits of device to newborns

For any pregnant woman in Maryland, proper prenatal care is important. The health of both mothers and babies can depend upon this. Women who have chronic health conditions may require additional care and monitoring and physicians should be aware of this.

The results of a study related to monitoring of pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes. Two different ways of monitoring mothers' blood glucose levels were compared. One of the ways showed dramatic benefits to babies compared to the other. The study was conducted in the United States, Canada and multiple countries in Europe. Prolonged exposure to high maternal blood glucose levels puts babies at an increased risk of being born too soon, requiring neonatal intensive care, experiencing congenital disorders and more. Mothers may be more likely to develop preeclampsia which can be harmful to themselves and their babies.

Could a test help prevent stillbirths?

Expecting a child is full of anticipation, excitement, and nerves, but as many Maryland families know, too often a pregnancy ends in heartbreak. One scientist in Australia believes there may be a way to prevent families from going through this pain.

According to the ABC News, the death of a baby in utero after 20 weeks, or stillbirth, happens once every 100 pregnancies. Researchers out of the Hunter Medical Research Institute in Australia has found that these deaths may be the cause of the placenta prematurely degrading. Professor Roger Smith and his team found that when the placenta ages before the birth, a baby is starved of the nutrients it needs to thrive. A deteriorating placenta may also prevent enough oxygen from flowing through the umbilical cord, killing the baby. When the placenta begins to disintegrate, an enzyme called aldehyde oxidase is released into the mother's bloodstream.

Did Gentamicin cause permanent damage to your baby?

Birth injuries can result from a range of medical issues. Sometimes, doctors fail to realize that an infant is in distress because of issues with fetal monitoring. Other times, an OB/GYN could decide to administer a drug to a mother in labor in an off-label manner, which can result in serious injuries or even death. Other times, a drug properly administered can cause permanent injuries to your child.

Gentamicin is a common generic antibiotic used by many hospitals. If your doctor believes you could pass an infection to your unborn baby or if medical records regarding your status with certain sexually-transmitted infections aren't available, you could receive this drug during labor and delivery. While the drug is mostly safe, in some cases it can cause permanent damage to hearing or the vestibular system.

Black and rural babies most at risk for death

The birth of a child should be an exciting time, but for too many families in Maryland, it becomes a stressful emergency. New studies show this is especially true for families who live in rural areas.

According to NM Political Report, maternal care in rural areas is becoming a thing of the past. A study from researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the number of rural hospitals offering obstetric services decreased significantly over a ten-year period, from 45 percent of rural counties having no services in 2004 up to 54 percent in 2014. This is a problematic issue, especially because women in rural counties are more likely to have chronic conditions that make pregnancy more difficult. There were higher rates of both maternal and infant deaths and higher rates of hemorrhaging related to birth than in urban areas. Rural areas often have a higher population of poor people as well, which means these hospitals are disproportionally affected by changes and cuts to Medicaid, so mothers bear much of this burden. In fact, hospitals that had the strictest Medicaid standards were more likely to see a decrease in obstetric services compared to other hospitals.

Pregnancy complications to watch out for

If you are an expectant parent in Maryland, you deserve to spend the nine months of gestation eagerly awaiting the birth of your new bundle of joy. At the same time, however, it is important that you know about some of the potentially serious conditions that may affect you during your pregnancy. Being informed about complications that may occur while you are pregnant can help you advocate for proper care and keep you and your baby safe from serious injury or even death.

BabyCenter.com indicates that regular prenatal checks for blood pressure and urinalysis are important as elevated blood pressure and levels of protein in your urine may signal pre-eclampsia. This condition requires careful monitoring of you and your baby. You may need to reduce your activity or even eventually deliver your baby early although certainly carrying your baby as far into term as safely possible is preferable.

Understanding the guidelines for labor induction

It may seem to some in Annapolis that recent scientific advances (coupled with a better general understanding of the birthing process) have made having a baby seem relatively routine. However, many of the complications commonly associated with labor today are a direct result of the current methods doctors use to deliver babies. In the past, all of those involved in a delivery were seemingly at the mercy of Mother Nature to initiate the process. However, today's providers often rely on induction methods to help faciltate delivery in certain cases. 

Labor induction can be done through either the administration of medications that induce contractions or by artificically ruptering the membranes that compose the amniotic sac. According to information shared by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, induction occurs in nearly 22 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. The common school of thought is that labor is only induced in cases where a mother has passed her expected due date (indeed, ACOG states that elective induction should not occur before 39 weeks of pregnancy has passed). Yet ACOG has also established a number of factors which should be considered before resulting to induction. These include cases where there may be a severe fetal growth restriction, or the mother sufffers from any of the following conditions: 

  • Gestational or chronic hypertension 
  • Preeclampsia
  • Eclampsia
  • Diabetes

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