Many soon-to-be parents spend the months preceding the birth of their child planning and learning about what it means to be a parent and how to best handle childbirth. Every parent hopes for a smooth pregnancy and childbirth without complications. Amidst all the dreams and wishes, the most basic and universal wish is for a healthy, happy baby to come into this world.
Infants who are subjected to prolonged labor and delivery, or an excessive amount of trauma during labor and delivery, can be diagnosed as having conditions or birth injuries that include:
These injuries can happen a number of ways. For example, anoxic encephalopathy or anoxic brain death can happen when the baby has an a prolonged loss of oxygen or an absence of oxygen. This can occur if the umbilical cord is kinked or pinched, or if the fetus is in a position that puts too much pressure on the cord, cutting off oxygen. Sometimes the APGAR Scores that measure the infant’s well-being upon delivery are low (on a scale of 1-10) which signifies that the infant has been through a traumatic delivery. These events during labor and delivery can lead to cerebral palsy, paralysis, or even death. Broken bones or fractures can happen if the baby and mother are in great distress during the delivery. Sometimes, inexperienced medical personnel may be too rough during delivery or will not recognize when it is time to do a cesarean section.
Water birthing, sometimes known as hydrotherapy, is a method of giving birth to a baby while immersed in water. A growing number of women in the United States are choosing this method. Unfortunately, many women are not being fully informed about the risks or being assessed for whether they are proper candidates before they choose this option. Medical negligence is all too common, and not living up to the standard of care can lead to completely preventable injuries to babies.
Proponents of the method cite benefits to the baby and the mother. For the baby, proponents say it is a gentler, less stressful way for the baby to enter the world. The environment that the water creates is like an artificial amniotic sac where the baby can transition from in utero to ex utero, which, some say, is less traumatizing for the baby during birth.
For the mother, women who prefer this method say that it is relaxing and comforting to be surrounded by water. Some women will only stay in the tub of water during labor, but deliver the child through traditional means. Other women who choose this method will complete the entire delivery while in the water. Proponents say water birthing is less painful for women. They say that water gives a feeling of weightlessness that comforts the mother, buoyancy helps circulation and contractions, less stress could reduce blood pressure and lessen release of stress hormones, and less stress could relax muscles, reducing tearing.
Critics, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), have voiced skepticism about the benefits of water birthing. ACOG reports that there may be benefits of reduced pain and anesthesia during the first stage of labor, but that there is no evidence of benefit during the second stage of labor during the delivery. In fact, there are distinct risks of injury to the baby by birthing while immersed in water. Anoxic brain death is a serious risk. The brain needs sufficient oxygen, and birthing the baby into a tub of water could prevent it from getting the oxygen it needs.
Most birth injuries are preventable. Expecting parents need to be fully informed about risks and options by their physician before going ahead with a plan. Too many patients are misinformed or not given all the information they need to give informed consent and make a decision. This is a highly complex area of law, and you need an experienced attorney at your side if you have been a victim of medical malpractice resulting in a birthing injury. Robenalt Law has had experience investigating claims against large hospital systems such as Cleveland Clinic Foundation and University Hospitals of Cleveland.
Contact Ohio birth injury attorney Tom Robenalt today for a free consultation at (216) 223-753 or fill out our online form.