The Effect of Birth Injuries on Mothers
When babies suffer from birth injuries, their mothers are also affected. While the potential effects vary widely, some of the most common side effects that mothers experience when their children are injured at birth include the following.
When babies have birth injuries, they often need medical treatment, which can include diagnostic testing, surgery, and physical or occupational therapy. Children with birth injuries leading to physical or cognitive delays may need expensive therapies throughout their entire lives. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control indicate that the lifetime medical costs of Cerebral Palsy are close to $1 million.
Mothers have to absorb a lot of medical expenses related to their children’s birth injuries, but they also have to worry about the long term financial effects on their child, especially if their child is unable to work.
Often, children who have suffered birth injuries have emotional or cognitive disorders that persist for years. In addition to being expensive, these issues can make parenting challenging. In this situation, mothers may not have the same parenting experience they would have had if their child hadn’t suffered a birth injury.
Additionally, mothers often internalize trauma to their infants. They feel like they should have prevented the injury, and although the situation was out of their control, they become wracked with guilt. This often leads to depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Mothers may need expensive therapy or medication for these issues, and beyond that, they may not be able to work or complete daily tasks.
Psychological Birth Trauma
In many cases, when babies suffer birth injuries, their mothers report psychological birth trauma (PBT). According to some studies, PBT occurs in 20-30% of births, including in situations where the infant or mother is injured but also when the birth is emotionally traumatic for other reasons.
When women suffer from PBT, they often have difficulty bonding with their babies, and they tend to develop either overprotective, anxious bonds or rejecting type bonds. Their lactation periods also tend to be shorter. In some cases, women even develop a fear of childbirth.
Psychological trauma also tends to hurt family relationships. In particular, many women report avoiding intimacy with their husbands.
Sometimes, birth injuries affect the mother physically. Mothers may face any of the following issues:
- Uterine bleeding
- Vaginal tears
- Broken bones
- Other physical injuries
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- Eclampsia (the onset of seizures in a woman who has pre-eclampsia)
Birth injuries are extremely common among women. In fact, according to one study, 50-80% of women tear their pelvic skin or muscles during delivery, and 10% of those women suffer from urinary or fecal incontinence. One-third of all mothers encounter pelvic floor disorders in delivery, and 10% of these women need surgery.
Although the high numbers suggest that these issues are common and unavoidable, these side effects are often related to medical malpractice. That includes failure to tell mothers about the risks of cesarean sections or other procedures, allowing mothers to schedule elective cesarean sections before 37 weeks, and failure to identify potential complications before the mother goes into labor. Additionally, many maternal birth injuries are related to the misuse of tools such as vacuums or forceps during the delivery.
Approximately, 1 in 4,000 women die in childbirth, and in the United States, this number has risen significantly over the last 25 years. At the same time, maternal mortality rates have fallen in the rest of the world, making the United States, the most dangerous place to give birth in the industrialized world.
Birth injuries don’t just affect infants. They also affect mothers, fathers, and the rest of the infant’s family. If your child has suffered from a birth injury, contact us at The Mellino Law Firm today. When you call (440) 276-3535, we can give you a no-cost consultation to help you decide which steps to take next.