Plan Ahead to Protect Yourself and Your Baby from Birth Injuries
The months of pregnancy before your child’s birth bring excitement and anticipation. As a new parent, you look forward to welcoming a new baby into your life, and you want to do everything you can to prepare for his or her arrival. You research child care, baby-proof your home, and take extra precaution when you exercise and eat. You do these things to ensure the optimal health of your child.
However, even if you do everything you can to prepare for the birth and maintain your baby’s health, there are always risks involved with the birthing process. And while you hope for the best outcome for a happy, healthy baby, you also need to prepare in case of a medical emergency or negligence on the part of your doctor.
Read the rest of our blog to learn about how you can prevent birth injuries that result from hospital births, home births, and birthing centers. We’ll also inform you of the most common types of medical malpractice so you can make an informed decision when you create a birth plan.
Understand Basic Malpractice Risks
When you understand the basic principles associated with medical malpractice claims, you can discern whether or not your caretakers provide you with adequate care and protection.
The most common types of malpractice are:
- Failure to inform the patient of potential health risks
- Improper diagnosis
- Mistakes with anesthesia
- Improper treatment
- Errors during surgery
If your chosen midwife or doctor mistakenly judges your symptoms or misdiagnoses your condition, these actions can lead to mistakes during birth and recovery.
The errors in the above list have an even larger influence when they involve you and your unborn child. Pregnant mothers most often experience medical malpractice in the following forms:
- Maternal infections that go untreated
- Undetected maternal diabetes
- Internal bleeding
- Tearing during birth
Ask your doctor about testing and treatment in your prenatal care appointments. Early detection of potential problems not only helps your doctor or midwife do his or her job, but it can also save you costly medical bills and physical trauma later on.
For infants, the most common injuries before and during birth include:
- Improper use of birth-assisting tools
- Low oxygen levels before birth
- Fetal distress that goes undetected
- Misdiagnosis and failure to perform a Cesarean section
When you and your spouse select a birth plan, remember your medical history and the experiences of women in your family. As you do so, you can more easily prevent complications during birth.
If You Choose a Hospital Birth
Many women choose to give birth in a hospital because these facilities offer a variety of treatment options in one location.
For example, if your doctor has informed you that you might require a C-section due to your baby’s size or a preexisting medical condition, you might want to plan on giving birth in a hospital. And if you choose to give birth in a hospital, you decrease the travel time between going into labor and delivering your child.
Though it is most common for an M.D. to deliver your baby when you choose a hospital birth, you can also request a nurse midwife to assist you. Just keep in mind that midwives and doctors perform different tasks.
When you choose your medical professionals, ask about their insurance plans. Doctors and midwives who have malpractice insurance will pay the damages in the event of wrongful death or misdiagnosis that harms either mother or child. Hospitals also have the advantage of their own insurance plans, so you will have double the protection if you decide on a hospital birth.
If You Choose an At-Home Birth or a Birthing Center
For non-hospital settings, a midwife practitioner will help you through labor and delivery. Midwives also specialize in different birthing techniques. Most women choose midwives because they allow mothers to customize their birthing plan.
If an emergency occurs during birth, your midwife will transfer you to a hospital for a doctor’s care.
For example, if the midwife notices any condition that is beyond his or her certification, such as fetal distress or a disruption in the baby’s heart rate, you’ll need to relocate to the hospital before the baby can be born. In some circumstances, moving to a hospital may delay you from getting immediate help.
Communicate openly with your midwife about your health and your preferences before your due date. Decide together on a birthing plan, and make sure that the two of you agree on when and if you should be transferred to a hospital.
You’ll also want to ask your midwife about malpractice insurance. Birthing centers and professionals vary in their coverage, so make sure you know what options exist beforehand.
When you research and prepare for all the possible variables of birth and delivery, you won’t have to worry about your safety or your child’s health. If you feel that your doctor or midwife acted negligently or caused injury to your or your baby during birth, talk to a legal professional to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.