Few things in life can overcome the excitement of learning you are expecting a new addition to the family. After nurturing your bundle of joy in your body for nine or so months, you prepare for childbirth expecting to soon welcome your child into the world. Due to some complications during the delivery process, your new arrival is whisked away from your body and awaiting arms and given further testing and treatment for injuries sustained during the birthing process. 

Despite advancements in prenatal care and medical technology, birth injuries are still an all-too-real and heartbreaking reality for many parents. Some types of birth trauma are due to uncontrollable factors like genetics. However, many birth injuries are due to missing the signs of fetal distress. 

Signs of fetal distress that warrant immediate action 

One of the main purposes of prenatal care is to ensure the health of mom and the developing baby. During the early stages of pregnancy, blood work, ultrasounds and other routine testing are done to determine maternal care needs to reduce the likelihood of complications as the gestation continues. The closer it gets to the delivery date, the focus shifts to include treatment to prevent complications during delivery. Routine observation of fetal health for signs of distress can help prevent the need for invasive and drastic medical procedures. Signs of distress that often warrant the need for immediate action include abnormal fetal heartbeat, fewer fetal movements, maternal bleeding from the vaginal area, unexplained cramping and elevated maternal blood pressure. 

Proper prenatal care is important 

Expectant mothers are not doctors, nor do they always know when something is wrong with themselves or their babies that warrants the need for emergency care. Their doctors use certain criteria to determine which mothers are high-risk and should tailor their care needs to minimize the risk of complications. However, fetuses can become distressed at any time. The risks of complications are higher when the mother is not in a medical facility or under the direct observation of her medical care team and when her medical team does not provide adequate prenatal care and monitoring

Despite their training and commitment to patients, some physicians overlook the signs of fetal distress until it is too late. Not addressing the potential cause of distress or immediately delivering the baby can cause birth injuries such as cerebral palsy, behavioral and emotional impairments, seizures, permanent brain damage and other long-term health complications.

A knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer can help determine if negligence played a role in a child’s birth injuries.