Soon-to-be mothers in Washington likely have read everything there is to know about their upcoming birth. Some of the articles read may mention birth injuries and birth defects. Though it can be easy to confuse the two, they are very different.
Birth defects in babies
Birth defects, or malformations, are conditions that are present at the birth of the baby. These conditions are structural and developed while the baby was in the womb. Birth defects can affect almost any part of the baby’s body. They are also extremely common; 33% of all babies born in the United States present with a birth defect. Some birth defects can be determined in-utero with ultrasound, and others are not discovered until the baby is born. Some birth defects can be prevented by taking precautions such as:
- Taking 400 mg of folic acid each day
- Getting prenatal care at the first sign of pregnancy
- Avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
- Treating infections promptly
- Avoiding overheating
How birth injuries differ from birth defects
Birth injuries are sometimes referred to as birth trauma. These injuries occur during the birthing process. Birth injuries often occur when a doctor uses instruments, such as a vacuum or forceps, during the delivery. Common birth injuries include fractures, bruising, facial paralysis or brachial palsy. Though the rate of birth injuries has steadily declined over the past several years, they do still occur and may affect an infant throughout their life.
Getting help with your child’s birth injury
Learning that your child has a birth injury can be one of the hardest things for a new parent to hear. If your child was injured during birth, they may require extensive medical care and therapy to treat the injuries. Help may be available through filing a civil claim against the doctor who delivered your baby.