The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies are marking the month of January as Birth Defects Awareness Month.
According to statistics, a baby with a birth defect is born every 4.5 minutes somewhere in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a birth defect as a structural change in a part or organ of the body that may affect how the child looks or how the affected body part functions or works. Birth defects vary greatly in their severity as well as their impact on the child’s life. This impact can further depend on the part or organ of the body that has been affected. Some birth defects may result in a reduction in the life span of the child, and others may have no impact on the child’s life span.
Not all birth defects are entirely preventable. However, some types of defects can be prevented through proper maternal care during pregnancy. Many birth defects begin to form in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and therefore, proper care is a must.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women abstain from smoking, drinking and doing drugs during pregnancy. Certain drugs may boost the chances of having a baby with birth defects. Get regular medical checkups during your pregnancy. Certain nutritional supplements like folic acid have also been shown to increase the chances of a healthy baby. Don’t take medications without consulting your doctor. This can include over- the- counter medications and herbal supplements too. Management of obesity and diabetes can also lower the risk of injuries and defects.
Some defects are preventable. In many cases, defects occur as a result of taking medications that may have been prescribed for certain conditions the mother suffers from. Other birth injuries like cerebral palsy may occur as a result of oxygen deprivation during birth. This deprivation could be the result of delayed C-section, failure to monitor maternal health during pregnancy and other factors. Other preventable birth inures and defects include brachial palsy, bruising, some types of hematoma, facial paralysis and fractures.
Not all birth injuries or defects are immediately visible. Some may begin to show symptoms only after the child reaches the age of one year. Pay close attention to your child’s developmental milestones (turning over, holding neck up straight and so on) and consult your doctor if you see deviations or delays.
Consult with a birth injury attorney to discuss how you can protect your child’s rights to damages after an injury. The Indianapolis birth defects attorney at Montross Miller represent families injured as a result of birth defects across Indiana.