How to Prepare for the Safest Childbirth

red_alert.jpgIn Sweden, the cases of 472 claims for monetary compensation between the years of 1990 and 2005 due to alleged medical malpractice correlating with childbirth were closely examined to assess neonatal recovery from severe asphyxia. The results released in the Norwegian Journal of Acta Paediatrica in June of 2008 are disturbing , yet many expectant mothers have never heard of this study.

Asphyxia is similar to suffocation. A baby is not breathing naturally when it is born with severe asphyxia, so recognizing the problem and implementing immediate resuscitation techniques is necessary. Sometimes, there is an issue with getting an accredited pediatrician, neonatologist, or anesthesiologist to the room in time to properly recover the baby. There have also been situations where the qualified doctor waited to perform resuscitation or did not attempt it.

The study in Sweden concluded that, of the 472 claims, 177 infants suffered from early death or cerebral palsy due to suffocation at childbirth caused by medical malpractice while the mother was in labor. Adequate resuscitation was not attempted in 84 cases within the first 3 minutes of childbirth. For another 23 infants, no adrenaline or proper medication was supplied at childbirth to help ease the child’s breathing. Still another 19 infants suffered due to late resuscitation, where there were no attempts within at least 4 minutes of childbirth. The results of the remaining 51 children seem to be unclear.

The findings are disturbing. The study called for better compliance with guidelines for infant resuscitation, particularly concerning ventilation and timely paging of experienced persons when facing the threat of possible infant asphyxia.

Expecting families are advised to seek the knowledge required for selecting doctors and hospitals. Expecting parents are also advised to prepare for childbirth by researching as many possible childbirth complications as they can, to gain a sufficient grasp on what could happen in the delivery room and what those events could mean for their new family’s future. The more the expecting family is prepared for, the less stressful the delivery day will be, and the less likely that any permanent damage will occur.

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