Rise in Preventable Childbirth Complications

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According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), almost 4 million babies are born across America annually. At the rate of 12.5 births per 1000 residents, that fulfills the dreams of countless people. However, those dreams can quickly become nightmares when complications arise. The majority of pregnancies occur without any complications, but 7 out of 1000 babies are born with a birth injury. While that may not sound like a lot, it equates to 3 babies per hour. Moreover, around 700 mothers die of pregnancy complications every year… many of which are completely preventable. After a birth defect or traumatic birth injury, it’s too late to focus on what could have happened to prevent them. Of course, recognizing the causes and preventative measures prior to an issue can help you avoid them altogether.

Preventable Childbirth Complications

What Are the Major Causes of Childbirth Complications?

 

The reasons for childbirth complications can vary drastically, but they all come down to two categories: unavoidable and preventable. High blood pressure, gestational or existing diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm labor are common issues that can fall into either category. While unavoidable complications account for two-thirds of complicated childbirth concerns, a whopping one-third of cases fall within the preventable category. And according to the Department of Health and Human Services, miscommunication among the birthing team is the top cited reason for preventable childbirth complications.

 

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Who’s At the Highest Risk for Common Complications?

 

There are certain risk factors for pregnancy complications. Pregnancy health needs to be tackled prior to conception and maintained throughout the gestational period. Conditions and diseases such as anemia, epilepsy, infections, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases can significantly increase the risks for birth complications. But there are other common risk factors that may not seem so obvious. Vices such as smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs increase the risk. But mothers who are battling or have battled eating disorders, being pregnant at a young age or over the age of 35, extended pregnancies, and mothers carrying multiple fetuses are at a higher risk for childbirth complications.

 

What Can You Do to Lower the Chances of Preventable Complications?

 

Some childbirth risks and complications simply cannot be avoided, but many can. Plan for an impending pregnancy whenever possible. Consult your doctor, prepare your body with the right nutrition and exercise, quit your vices, and reduce stress levels. Maintaining a healthy weight before pregnancy is crucial to avoid late or premature pregnancies as is gaining the right amount of weight during gestation. The Mayo Clinic recommends a 25-35 pound weight gain for mothers within their normal weight range prior to conception.

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But the most important way to lower the chances of preventable complications may be the easiest as well. Simply be involved and educated in your own prenatal care. That means take your vitamins, talk to your doctor, and know your own requirements and limits regarding health and activity needs. Let your birthing team know without a doubt that you are an active and aware participant in your pregnancy and fetal safety. And if medical accidents still occur, contact your birth injury attorney to help you prepare and plan for any significant challenges down the road.

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Rise in Preventable Childbirth Complications
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