A new mother recently opened up to Glamour magazine and shined a light on a seemingly foreign problem – a traumatic birth injury. Americans like to think that these injuries only occur in far off, third world countries. However, what happened to this mother is scarily common. As C-Sections and rushed births rise, more mothers face injuries.
In the United States, 32 percent of women deliver by cesarean, which includes 1 in 3 women. However, new studies show that half of these aren’t necessary. This leads to almost 34% of women citing a traumatic birth injury. Yet, many don’t report it since they think as long as their baby is fine, they will be okay. Research even shows that women can even develop PTSD from the experience. Those giving birth vaginally also are at an increase for injury.
Risks of Vaginal Birth Injuries
Childbirth can be long and exhausting. This process can cause a variety of vaginal birth injuries. Also, a doctor using forceps or vacuums heightens the risk of injury.
Vaginal prolapse happens when ligaments, muscles, the tissue supporting the uterus, bladder, rectum, and small bowel fall out of place. These weakened areas can push the body to rest against the vagina. In severe cases, they can pass through the vaginal opening. Longterm effects are pain, incontinence, and compromised sexual function.
Many women suffer from chronic pain in the months or even years after childbirth. The reasons for chronic pain vary, ranging from nerve damage to scar tissue, fractured pelvic bones to severely damaged internal structures. Also, do not ignore chronic pain after childbirth. This could be a sign of a serious vaginal birth injury.
A doctor performs an episiotomy during childbirth if the baby becomes stuck or labor stalls. An episiotomy is a small cut along with the vagina. Scarring affecting sexual function along with an injury to nearby body parts are risks with this procedure.
The most common risk is vaginal tears. Over 95% of first-time mothers could have a tear. There are different degrees of tearing. These are:
- First-Degree which involves small tears just on the skin around the vagina or perinea. These normally heal without intervention.
- Second-Degree ones involve the perineal muscles, located between the vagina and anus. These need stitches.
- Third-Degree involve the perineal muscles and the muscles around the anus. These tears often require surgery to correct.
- Fourth-Degree tears are the most severe. These tears involve the perineal muscles, the anal sphincter, and tissue surrounding the rectum. This degree of injury requires surgical intervention and can take months to completely resolve.
Similar to a severe tear, a fistula is an injury occurring during lengthy or prolonged childbirth. A fistula happens when the soft tissue between the mother’s pelvis and the baby’s head is compromised and dies. This leaves a hole between the bladder and rectum. The result is urine and feces leaking from the hole into other organs and the vagina. The side effects are incontinence, foul odor, pain, and complications like kidney disease and other chronic illnesses.
Life After a Traumatic Birth Injury
The side effects of a traumatic birth injury can be embarrassing and hard to manage. For example, vaginal mesh surgery can correct a prolapse. However, that treatment runs its own risks. In 2010, a study featured in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal had to be terminated due to the extent of surgical mesh-related injuries. Also, of the women who received the transvaginal mesh implant, 15% experienced erosions of the patch, and other complications included two cystotomies (bladder incisions) and one blood transfusion.
In 2011, the FDA reported common problems related to mesh implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP), which included:
- Generalized pain; pain during intercourse
- Infections surrounding mesh
- Urinary tract problems
- Erosion of soft tissues around the mesh
- Protrusion of the mesh through soft tissues
- Damage to nearby organs
Costs Associated with Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousand to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.
Therefore, it is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track record of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. Therefore, for your complimentary consultation, call our office now.