Could Your Child’s Birth Injury Have Been Prevented?

Parents of children with birth injuries know that their children's lives are different than they would've been if they had not suffered a birth injury. As they work hard to get their children the medical, rehabilitative and educational care that they need, many parents have a lingering question in their heads: could my child's birth injury have been prevented?

Many Birth Injuries Could Have Been Prevented

While each birth injury case is unique, the truth is that many birth injuries could have been prevented by medical professionals if they had exercised reasonable care in treating mothers during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Specifically, birth injuries are less likely when doctors and nurses make appropriate diagnoses, monitor patients appropriately, and respond appropriately to the monitoring results.

A Birth Injury May be Preventable When the Condition of the Mother and Child Are Appropriately Diagnosed

Throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, a doctor should be able to diagnose many conditions that, if not properly treated, could lead to a birth injury. For example, a doctor should be able to determine the position of the baby and the estimated size of the baby before delivery to determine if a vaginal delivery would be safe or too risky. The failure to recommend a C-section for a baby who cannot safely fit through the birth canal can lead to a birth injury.

A Birth Injury May be Preventable When The Mother and Child are Appropriately Monitored

Once a woman is in labor a doctor should be able to determine if the baby is in distress and needs to be delivered quickly. The appropriate level for monitoring the mother and baby depends on the overall health of the mother and child and the number of interventions used. For example, a baby's fetal heart rate and a mother's contractions should be closely monitored when the mother is given Pitocin to aid with labor and delivery. The failure to monitor a mother during a labor induction can result in a birth injury.

A Birth Injury May be Preventable When Doctors and Nurses Respond Appropriately to the Monitoring Results

Monitoring is only useful if the doctors and nurses use the information learned during monitoring to recommend the appropriate medical treatment. For example, in some cases an immediate delivery may be necessary to prevent a serious birth injury.

So, to answer the question of many parents: yes, your child's birth injury may have been preventable if medical professionals had exercised a reasonable degree of care in treating you and your child. However, it often takes a thorough investigation into what happened during pregnancy, labor and delivery to know for sure if the injury could have been prevented.