The arrival of a new baby should be a joyful, pain-free experience. However, birth injuries still occur, leaving parents devastated and newborns facing lifelong impacts. The good news is many birth injuries can be prevented through proactive measures. By making informed choices, advocating for their needs, and selecting the right healthcare team, mothers and fathers-to-be can substantially reduce risks.
Choose the Right Provider
One of the most important decisions expecting parents will make is selecting their obstetrician, hospital, and pediatric care team. Look for providers with low C-section rates, top safety scores, and experience handling high-risk deliveries. Tour facilities to ensure they meet your needs and offer NICU services if necessary. Vet credentials thoroughly and align with providers who share your values and birth philosophy.
Address Any Health Issues
From diet to exercise to stress levels, adopting healthy pregnancy habits lays the groundwork for a safer delivery. Make nutrition and lifestyle adjustments to manage conditions like gestational diabetes or hypertension. Undergo recommended health screenings and immunizations. Treat any infections promptly and avoid harmful substances. Ensuring your well-being boosts your baby’s chances of arriving injury-free.
Create a Birth Plan
Thoughtfully planning for delivery allows parents to identify potential obstacles and declare their preferences ahead of time. Birth plans often specify positions conducive to easier delivery, ideal pacing and pushing techniques, restrictions on medical interventions, and more. Reviewing this proactively with your doctor enables the best chance of aligning on strategies for an optimal labor experience.
Learn Warning Signs
Educate yourself on red flags for common delivery risks like placental abruption, umbilical cord compression, and prolonged labor. Recognizing early symptoms of trouble empowers parents-to-be to speak up and request medical attention to address issues promptly. Being informed about problems makes parents better advocates if challenges arise.
Never hesitate to ask questions and gain clarity around procedures, medications, monitoring, and event precautions throughout pregnancy and delivery. The more information parents have, the better they understand their options and potential side effects. Developing open communication with providers builds trust on all sides. Parents’ peace of mind also fosters a smoother labor process.
Address Pain Safety
Most mothers desire some form of pain management during childbirth. Discuss all pain relief options with your provider and identify the safest choices for both you and baby. Epidurals are common interventions but do carry risks if dosage is too high. Non-medical tools like massage, hydrotherapy, and breathing techniques can also ease discomfort without medication side effects.
Having an experienced doula or dedicated birth partner provides invaluable physical and emotional support for expectant mothers. They can suggest positions, massage tense areas, and encourage you through intense moments. Choose your birth team wisely and ensure they understand your preferences to better assist you when delivery starts.
Trust Your Instincts
Even with thorough plans and prep, deliveries can take unexpected turns. Listen to your intuition if something does not feel right or if you have concerns about your baby’s well-being. You know your body best. Speak up right away if you notice anything amiss so providers can promptly take appropriate action. Your voice matters.
With knowledge and vigilance, parents can minimize many risks during pregnancy and delivery. However, even with the best-laid plans, birth injuries can still occur. Staying informed and proactive helps protect babies, but parents should never blame themselves when the unforeseen happens. Working with compassionate medical teams focused on your infant’s recovery is what matters most.