Potentially Avoidable Injuries To Mothers And Newborns During Childbirth
More than 250,000 babies are born every year in the United States alone! That’s over one baby per hospital staff member. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to adequate prenatal care or appropriate medical facilities with trained professionals to help them through childbirth.
Some health conditions may require close monitoring or more frequent visits from a doctor for safety during pregnancy or right after birth. Health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can also pose risks to both mother and infant when they are at their most vulnerable due to pregnancy.
This article will discuss some potential injuries that occur during labor and delivery for mothers as well as newborn infants.
So what are these potentially serious complications? And how do they affect mothers and children? Let’s take a look!
Clotting disorders are one of the most common reasons why women get pregnant symptoms such as pain, swelling, discoloration, and bleeding anywhere in the body. Disorders of this kind are called clotting abnormalities. When there is an underlying problem with your own internal chemistry, your body cannot properly regulate how thickly you clot.
Certain medications can cause problems if you are taking them while you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant. Certain types of anesthesia can prevent normal contractions of the uterus which can make it harder to achieve vaginal birth.
When there is not enough of a blood supply coming from the placenta, this can cause bleeding in the area where the placental tissue attaches to the uterine wall. This is called placental abruption.
Abruptions occur when some parts of the placenta break away or are accidentally expelled. Because the fetus depends on the placenta for nutrition and oxygen, these complications often result in fetal death.
There are several risk factors that increase your chance of having placental abruption. These include being over 30 years old, carrying a baby who weighs more than 9 pounds at birth, pregnancy with a male infant, and chronic hypertension.
Symptoms may be minimal, but they can become much worse quickly if left untreated. Women with placental abruption may have light vaginal spotting, feeling faint or tired, shortness of breath, chest pain, or nausea. They might also notice their bladder becoming smaller and/or them passing very little urine.
Placental abruption usually happens early in labor. It is most common between weeks 32 and 36, just before childbirth.
Treatment typically includes inducing labor, which means helping the body to start working again through natural methods. If necessary, medication may be given to speed up the process. For example, antibiotics may be used to prevent infection.
Surgery may be needed to repair any ruptures in the uterus.
When there is an adequate amount of blood supply to the placental tissue, usually around eight centimeters (three feet), then this can sometimes be reabsorbed into the body as a whole-body clot.
However, when there is a limited or absent supply of blood, the remaining placenta will begin to breakdown in order to get more supplies.
This process can result in heavy bleeding that may not stop until after delivery, which is called retained placenta. This can cause serious health problems for both you and your baby, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms.
It can also put stress on the maternal heart, causing it to work harder, and possibly leading to complications like low blood pressure and shock.
Since most cases of retained placenta are due to poor circulation, limiting alcohol intake and having a healthy diet may help prevent it.
Drinking enough water and eating nutritious foods can keep you feeling full and promote strong bones and muscles. Being physically active helps with this too since it raises your baseline blood flow.
Surgery may need to be done at this time to try and remove all of the leftover placental material. Sometimes only part of the organ will come out, so being aware of potential warning signs is very important.
When pregnant women develop symptoms of pregnancy, or their babies are not moving within birth canal quickly enough, it is referred as obstructed labor. This can occur when the baby’s head becomes stuck in the vagina, the pelvis gets jammed sideways, or there is a lack of space for the fetus to move through as the uterus contracts.
Obstructed labour happens most often in pregnancies where the woman is very overweight (more than 250 pounds for every 100 feet tall). It also typically occurs after the second trimester, when maternal fat accumulates around the abdomen.
Because these things take time to happen, mothers may be able to recognize early signs that something could go wrong and prevent an accident from happening. However, many cases of obstructed labour do not give much warning until the body has tried its best to work against itself.
It is important to remember that even though your own mother might feel like she knows what her body will and won’t let happen, no one does. No two pregnancies are the same!
What you can do to help If you are concerned about how your friend or family member is doing during childbirth, here are some tips.
Don’t worry about whether the doctor is “doing everything he/she should” — this is a totally normal concern. But you can help by being supportive and understanding, helping them find help if they ask, and encouraging them to discuss any worries they have with you.
Amniotic fluid embolism
Amniotic fluid emboli (AFE) occur when blood cells, fat molecules or both enter your maternal-fetal circulatory system during pregnancy.
These particles can travel through your heart and large vessels and eventually settle in other organs, causing complications.
There are several theories about what causes AFEs to happen, but none that have been proven.
However, experts do agree that there is no way to predict who will develop this disease so it is important for doctors to be aware of its symptoms.
It may be helpful to think of AFE as having two main components: an initial event followed by something like snowball effect.
The initial event happens when red blood cell fragments or fat droplets come into contact with some other part of the body — usually a tissue or organ. This interaction triggers the body’s immune response.
In extreme cases, the body recognizes these foreign substances as being non-self and begins to form antibodies against them. These antibodies then circulate in the blood stream.
Mother and baby go into shock
When mothers feel pain, they can be unable to tell whether it is due to pregnancy or something else. They may also have symptoms of dehydration, which can make it difficult for their bodies to regulate temperature.
Many pregnant women develop fluid retention as their pregnancies progress. This occurs when your body holds onto extra water in relation to what you drink.
This can result in swelling, especially in your hands and feet, and an increase in weight. Because these changes occur early on in pregnancy, most women do not realize that this was the cause until later.
In fact, about half of all pregnant women experience some form of fluid retention during their pregnancies.
But it is important to know that having more fluid in your blood does not mean your child needs more food! Your unborn child gets enough nutrients from your diet already.
It just makes your skin, muscles and internal organs function better. Therefore, drinking more liquids is very important for maternal health during childbirth.
Drinking too much liquid can lead to obesity, however. As such, it is best to aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Two of those should be plain waters with no additives.
On average, mothers spend around six hours giving birth. So making sure she is well fed and hydrated before delivery and while delivering the baby is extremely important.
While most people feel very comfortable giving birth, unfortunately, some women are not as informed about childbirth as they should be. For example, many do not know that contractions can cause your heart to fail and become too weak to pump enough blood!
This is called cardiac arrest. When this happens, your body does not get the air it needs and death follows soon thereafter.
Most likely causes of heart failure during pregnancy include shock or stress due to unexpected complications in birthing, fluid retention caused by worry or fatigue, or poor circulation caused by conditions like diabetes.
Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling, and cool hands. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately and tell them you think you have a heart attack.
You may need emergency treatment for heart problems and/or delivery of the baby.