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The Psychological Consequences of Birth Injuries

Published on Sep 23, 2021 at 3:24 pm in Birth Injury.

Person holding baby on top of blanket

It’s impossible to imagine the physical and emotional trauma a parent whose child is harmed during childbirth experiences. The psychological trauma of a birth injury can be just as difficult to overcome as a physical injury, if not more so. Severe stress, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are only some of the ways individuals are impacted following a traumatic childbirth.

Today we will look at some research-based statistics concerning how mothers are psychologically affected by birth injuries. But a number can never represent the true suffering of those who have faced these scenarios in their own lives. If you or your child was harmed because of a birth injury which could have been prevented, reach out to our team of attorneys at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC to discuss the ways a Baltimore, MD birth injury lawyer can help you take legal action.

Psychological Consequences

The MASIC Foundation, a charity and research organization supporting women who have suffered serious injuries during childbirth, conducted a study on the impact that birth injuries have on a mother’s life. Based on qualitative and quantitative data gathered through interviews with people who experienced trauma while giving birth, it was found that:

  • 85% reported that the birth injury impacted their relationship with their child.
  • 78% were affected by traumatic memories of the birth.
  • 52% were embarrassed by symptoms of the injury.
  • 49% doubted their ability to properly parent their child.
  • 45% suffered postnatal depression resulting from the injury.
  • 34% saw their child as the cause of their injuries.
  • 31% felt their child would be better off without them.
  • 24% regretted having a child because of the injuries sustained.
  • 14% believed their relationship to their child was permanently damaged by the injury.

Ongoing emotional and mental distress following the harrowing event of a problematic childbirth is common. Studies have found that, under any health circumstances, feelings of pressure and judgment from outside parties is rampant among those preparing child birth plans. Other investigations have shed light on the detrimental impact a birth injury can have on the relationship between mother and partner. And still further research has determined a link between a traumatic childbirth experience and difficulty forming social relationships of any kind.

When the burden to meet a legal standard, as a parent, a partner, or as a member of society, is combined with a severe childbirth injury, the emotional anguish can be devastating. In addition to the physical pain from injuries they themselves sustained, those who suffered a traumatic childbirth have been shown to experience any one or several of the following psychological symptoms:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Feelings of guilt and failure
  • Fear of disappointing others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overwhelming feelings of helplessness
  • Recurrent memories, flashbacks, and nightmares about the birth
  • Anxiousness or panic when exposed to things which remind them of the event
  • Dread of visiting doctors or hospitals
  • Reluctance to discuss the topic of childbirth
  • Avoidance of things which remind them of the birth
  • Difficulty communicating with partners
  • Lack of desire to spend time with the infant
  • Inability to experience sexual intimacy
  • Fear of becoming pregnant
  • Lethargy, insomnia, lack of appetite, or other physical manifestations of mental anguish

Common Birth Injuries

According to Stanford Children’s Health at Stanford University, a difficult birth causing harm to the infant can occur due to a number of conditions. Factors including infant size, mother’s health condition, prematurity, prolonged labor, and abnormal birthing presentation (often, a breech birth) can have an influence on the birthing process. Unfortunately, healthcare provider error, neglect, or carelessness can also be a contributing factor in childbirths resulting in injury or death. The following are some of the well-known birth injuries affecting the infant:

  • Brachial Palsy. This occurs when nerves of the arms and hands are injured while delivering the baby’s shoulder.
  • Caput Succedaneum. This condition is a significant swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp.
  • Bruising and Fractures. The use of forceps and vacuum extraction can especially compound problems as the infant travels through the birth canal.
  • Cephalohematoma. This condition is when bleeding occurs between the skull bone and its fibrous covering.
  • Umbilical Cord Prolapse. When the umbilical cord comes out first, it can cut off oxygen flow to the infant.
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). This serious condition is brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow.

Other issues can affect the mother giving birth:

  • Emergency C-Section. When immediate medical care is required, a mother may be forced to undergo an emergency Caesarean section operation.
  • Perineal Injuries. Tearing of the perineum, the area between the anus and vaginal opening, is common during childbirth, but in severe instances can cause lasting damage.
  • Hysterectomy. Bleeding, infection, or other complications may lead a physician to perform emergency surgery to remove the mother’s uterus after childbirth.
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage. Bleeding after giving birth can be dangerous and even deadly if not swiftly and appropriately handled by attending medical care providers.

Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC Is Here for You

A birth injury claim falls under medical malpractice litigation. This area of the law is complex and requires expertise to reach a successful outcome. Our birth injury lawyers in Baltimore, MD can guide you through the claims process and ensure every step is completed in an accurate and timely manner. We know that most people are in an extremely vulnerable stage of life when filing these types of lawsuits. We devote our upmost care and attention to handling the legal matters so you can focus on healing and health. Call our office to schedule a discussion about how we can work for you and your family.

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