Birth Plans to Limit Birth Trauma Chances

Birth Plans to Limit Birth Trauma Chances

by / Wednesday, 30 August 2017 / Published in Medical Malpractice, Tips

When it comes to giving birth, there isn’t just one way to go about it. You might choose to give birth in a hospital with an obstetrician by your side, at home under the supervision of a midwife, or at a birthing center. Maybe you want to have a doula help you through the process.

Regardless of how you want to give birth, it’s very important to remember that even under the best circumstances, it’s possible for complications to occur during labor and delivery. Complications make it more likely for birth injuries to occur, both to the mother and the child, so it’s very important to make sure you’ll be under the care of professionals who are prepared to handle them.

When talking to doctors or midwives, try to notify them of any potential risks you might be facing that could cause complications. Of course, not all complications can be anticipated, but if you have issues such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, a heart condition, or other issues that made previous births difficult, that information will help your birth team better anticipate problems that might occur during your delivery. Or if other women in your immediate family have had difficult deliveries, that could also be helpful information for them to have. Bringing up these issues also gives you an opportunity to ask them about how much experience they have handling those types of deliveries.

If you’re planning on a hospital birth, see which hospitals in your area are covered by your insurance and take a maternity tour of each of them. Don’t just choose a hospital purely because it’s the closest to home. During a maternity tour, a nurse will show you around the hospital’s birthing facilities and familiarize you with the hospital’s layout and procedures. Most importantly, maternity tours are also the perfect opportunity to ask any questions. There are a lot of big questions to ask, such as about hospital features and policies, but don’t forget to ask questions that directly relate to patient care, such as:

  • On average, how many births occur at this hospital each day?

  • What kind of fetal monitoring equipment do you use?

  • What are this hospital’s infant and maternal mortality rates?

  • What is this hospital’s C-section rate?

  • What percentage of your births are unplanned C-sections?

  • Do you offer special services for high-risk pregnancies?

  • What is the hospital’s episiotomy rate?

Whether you’re having a home birth or a hospital birth, you may want to hire a doula to help you through the process. Doulas help laboring women in a non-medical capacity by doing things like guiding them through breathing and helping them change positions. However, they also provide a lot of emotional support and often act as a patient advocate. So while they won’t be providing medical care, it’s very important to ask a doula about their training and certifications and about some of the deliveries they’ve been involved in. How many births have they attended? How much experience do they have working with complicated deliveries?

Midwives are more able to provide more medical services than doulas, so if you’re interested in hiring one for a home delivery or are planning to work with one in a birthing center, it’s extremely important to make sure they’re fully prepared to handle complications since you’d be giving birth away from a traditional medical facility. In addition to asking them about standard things like licensing, certifications, education, and how many births they’ve attended, ask them questions like:

  • What percentage of births have you attended that required a transfer to a hospital? Why were those transfers needed?

  • What percentage of births you’ve attended have ultimately resulted in a C-section?

  • Do you have hospital admitting privileges? If so, which hospitals do you have them at?

  • Do you have experience or training to handle breech deliveries?

  • Do you perform episiotomies?

  • Will any assistants be working with you during my birth? Do you have a back-up midwife I can work with if you’re unavailable? If so, what training, licensing, and experience do they have?

  • What are your maternal and infant mortality rates?

  • Are you able to administer Pitocin to control hemorrhaging after birth?

  • Under what circumstances will you refer a patient to a doctor? (Overdue birth, gestational diabetes, twin births, etc.)

  • Do you carry malpractice insurance?

Planning ahead can help ensure that you’re in the best possible care during this special time in your life. But sometimes, birth injuries still happen, no matter how strong your birth plan is. If you believe that you or your child was injured during delivery, contact a birth trauma lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you had a home birth, you still may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit over injuries caused by a midwife’s negligence.

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