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American motherhood in crisis: Birth injury rates keep rising

The arrival of a newborn should be a time of celebration and happiness – but for many American families, childbirth is a prelude to tragedy.

According to a recent article in Fortune, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among all developed nations. Indeed, even as the birth rate took a sharp nosedive by about 20% over the last decade, maternal mortality rates have risen nearly 40% in a single year, pointing to a deep-rooted pregnancy health crisis.

Several factors contribute to the occurrence of birth injuries, and addressing them is crucial in preventing such incidents.

Lack of adequate prenatal care

Insufficient access to quality prenatal care has been identified as a significant factor contributing to birth injuries. Early detection and management of potential complications during pregnancy play a vital role in preventing adverse birth outcomes. Unfortunately, poverty and racial biases seem to put women of color (and Black women in particular) and their infants at the most risk of harm. Indeed, a Black mother is 2.6 times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy complications than her White peers.

Untreated or under-treated maternal health conditions

Pre-existing maternal health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, or infections, can increase the risk of complications during childbirth. Proper management and monitoring of these conditions during pregnancy and delivery are essential to mitigate potential harm to both the mother and the infant – and the lack of due caution by a medical provider can point to negligence.

Labor and delivery mistakes

In some cases, birth injuries occur due to medical errors or negligence during labor and delivery. Errors in medication administration, miscommunication among healthcare providers, delays in emergency interventions and/or the failure to recognize signs of distress in either the mother or child during labor can all lead to preventable birth injuries.

Whatever the cause, it’s clear: It’s a dangerous time to be pregnant or newly post-partum in the United States, so women and their partners need to be wary of medical mistakes. If one happens to you, it’s only wise to find out more about your legal options.