Around 280,000 birth injuries will occur in the United States every year, and about half of those could have been mitigated. The brunt of many birth injuries falls on the newborn infant, but the mothers going through the labor and delivery process are not immune from injuries.
If you or someone you love has been affected by one of these common birth injuries, consider seeking a consultation with a birth injury lawyer who can help you fight for the compensation and justice that you or your loved one deserves.
1. Postpartum depression and postpartum PTSD
After delivery, if something negative has occurred during the labor process, a mother may develop either postpartum depression or postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder, or postpartum PTSD. Everyone reacts differently to the stresses and pain associated with delivery, so even if you are not considered a high-risk pregnancy, this diagnosis can still apply to you and can manifest itself in different ways.
One way that postpartum depression can manifest itself is in a difficulty bonding with your baby. Feelings of isolation or guilt or a sense of failure surrounding some aspect of the delivery (especially if the delivery resulted in a birth injury) are also common symptoms. Postpartum depression may also result in an avoidance of situations that may remind the mother of the birthing experience, such as doctor’s offices or hospital visits.
Psychological damage after childbirth is a serious condition and should not be dismissed just because signs of this suffering may not be as outwardly visible as some other physical injuries.
2. Vaginal tears
Ninety percent of women will experience some vaginal tearing when giving birth vaginally. This happens when the perineum stretches to allow the baby to emerge from the mother’s body. The majority of perineal tears are relatively minor and will often heal on their own after birth. However, more serious tears that also affect the vulva or the muscles in the anus can take a longer time to heal and require a more complicated recovery regimen.
Four degrees of tears can occur during childbirth. These range from first degree tears, which are only skin deep, to third- and fourth-degree tears which are deeper and more serious.
Women who are at risk for third- and fourth-degree tearing are often first-time mothers, have had their labor induced, are giving birth to larger babies, have an especially long second stage of labor, or undergo an assisted delivery.
Many women concerned about vaginal tearing consider an episiotomy, which is a deliberate cut in an area where tearing may occur designed to prevent tearing and make delivery go more smoothly. If an injury occurs due to a botched episiotomy, a birth injury or medical malpractice lawyer can also help you with this claim.
3. Uterine damage: ruptures and prolapses
A uterine rupture is a serious complication that can occur during the labor and delivery process. It often occurs more frequently in women who have previously given birth by undergoing a cesarean section, and in these cases, it can happen at the site of the scar from this former surgery.
If doctors and midwives do not treat a uterine rupture as soon as they can, it can cause even more serious complications and can be life-threatening to the mother and the baby.
A prolapsed uterus happens when one or more pelvic organs bulges into the vaginal area. This is relatively common among mothers giving birth, with some estimates stating that as many as half the mothers who give birth in hospitals experience this complication. Even after an initial recovery, women who experience this may also experience mild incontinence, pain during sex, or a feeling of heaviness in the perineal area or the vagina.
If you believe that medical negligence caused you to experience any of these complications during your delivery, call a skilled and experienced medical malpractice lawyer to book a free consultation.