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The Potential Risks of a Long Labor at Birth

As your first labor pain stabs you in the back, you can't help but wonder, "Will I have a long labor?" While you've researched the statistics on how long the "average" labor lasts, you also know that hours in labor vary from mother to mother.

So, how do you know if your labor lasted too long and caused health problems for your child?

That question can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. In general though, there are two factors that indicate potential danger during a prolonged labor:

  -  If your baby got "stuck" in the birth canal with no oxygen supply.

  -  If your water broke and your doctor didn't make sure that you delivered within 24 hours.

Both of these extended labor indicators greatly increase the chance of brain damage to your baby. Brain damage is a key factor in the development of cerebral palsy.


When a Fever Isn't Just a Fever: Preventing Injury at Birth

Coming down with a fever is bothersome and can ruin your day when you're not pregnant. But when you are pregnant, a fever is no longer just a reason to miss work.

Instead, a fever during pregnancy is an indicator that something is going haywire and that you need fast medical attention. In fact, a temperature above 100.4°F could put your baby at risk for brain damage.

A fever generally indicates maternal infection, something your doctor must take very seriously. Some infections that could cause a fever and potentially harm your baby are:

  -  Bacterial vaginosis - Tell your doctor if you have unusual vaginal drainage or detect an unusual odor.

  -  Sepsis - An infection in your blood stream caused by a bacterial infection.

  -  Inflammation of the placental/umbilical cord.

  -  Chorioamnionitis - An infection of the uterus that causes your baby to be 4 times more likely to develop cerebral palsy.

Coming down with an infection while pregnant is frightening. Your doctor should take your body's warning signs as a strong signal to investigate. Fast action can mean the difference between having a healthy baby or a baby with life long complications, including cerebral palsy

brain injury or damage

Can a Newborn Actually Have a Stroke?

When you hear the term "stroke," you probably envision an elderly person who collapses on the floor. Then, for the rest of his life, he slurs his words and battles various physical challenges. So, it might surprise you to hear that newborns can experience strokes too.

Babies are in fact at risk of suffering from a stroke, both inside and outside the womb. The causes vary from birth to birth.

For example, if your baby had a stroke within the womb, it may have been caused by a blood clot in your placenta that blocked the flow of blood. This is just one cause of stroke in babies. Other risk factors that can lead to your baby suffering from a stroke:

  -  You had a blood clotting disorder.

  -  Your baby had an interruption is arterial blood flow to his brain.

  -  You had preeclampsia/hypertension (high blood pressure that wasn't dealt with).

  -  You had to have an emergency cesarean.

  -  Your second stage of labor was prolonged.

  -  You had a vacuum extraction.

  -  Your baby had heart anomalies.

  -  You experienced inflammation of the placenta.

  -  You had umbilical cord abnormalities.

  -  You had a pelvic inflammatory infection.

If your baby had a stroke, could it have been avoided? That depends on various factors that must be carefully weighed and reviewed by a medical professional. But yes, in some cases, a stroke can be avoided.

If Your Baby Experienced Bleeding in the Brain

It's hard to imagine that your perfect looking new baby could have something wrong inside her tiny head. But bleeding in the brain does happen. And its effects can be devastating.

Why would your baby's brain bleed?

She might have broken blood vessels, clogged blood vessels, or abnormal blood cells. If she bleeds because of blocked blood vessels, this is intracranial hemorrhage.

Any amount of blood on the brain is serious. So are the potential consequences. Cerebral palsy is one possible outcome.

When Your Baby Suffers a Lack of Oxygen at Birth (Asphyxia)

Your baby is an amazing feat of nature - he is born with the ability to endure a short period of low oxygen levels. But when that window closes, and he is still short of oxygen, life can go from wonderful to tragic in just a few breaths.

The risk of an oxygen shortage or "asphyxia" increases if your labor and delivery take too long and your baby becomes stressed. The lack of oxygen destroys the delicate tissue in the cerebral motor cortex of his brain.

Lack of oxygen to the baby can also occur if you had:

  -  Low blood pressure.

  -  A ruptured uterus.

  -  A detached placenta.

  -  Or problems with the umbilical cord.

What went wrong to rob your child of oxygen during this critical time? Could it have been prevented? As a mother, you deserve honest, informed answers to these questions.

Was My Baby's Brain Damage Preventable?

If you are not sure, seek expert advice. It's the only way to know if your doctor and medical team did everything possible to keep you and your baby safe and healthy.

Drugs and alcohol

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking: Protect Yourself and Your Baby from Cerebral Palsy

After your baby is born, your protective instincts are powerful. As the new "mama bear," you would challenge anyone who threatened to harm your precious new bundle of joy.

But did you know that protecting your baby's health starts before conception?

If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use any illicit drug, you are putting your child at risk for potentially permanent and devastating health problems.

But you-like millions of women around the world-wonder, "Will an occasional glass of wine hurt my baby?"

Studies are not conclusive as to whether or not it is safe to consume alcohol in any amount. It is therefore recommended that you abstain from consuming alcohol until after your baby is born. This ensures your baby is not forced to fight the ill affects of alcohol while she is developing and growing in the womb.

Maternal consumption of drugs and/or alcohol poisons your baby and seriously affects her nervous system, blood vessels, and internal organs. These impacts significantly increase your baby's chances of having a low birth weight and brain damage.

Brain damage caused by alcohol, smoking, and/or drug use can lead to the development of cerebral palsy.

If you are already pregnant, it's not too late to stop exposing yourself and your baby to these potential hazards. The sooner you stop, the better for you and your baby. And if you plan to get pregnant, now is the time to start protecting your unborn child.

If You are Unsure About the Impacts of Drugs or Alcohol on Your Baby

Seek expert advice immediately. As a parent or expectant mother, you must stay informed-during your pregnancy and after your child is born. And it's never too late to start asking questions.

You also need to know that your doctor and medical team has done everything possible to keep you and your child


maternal infection

Will an Infection While I'm Pregnant Hurt My Baby?

More likely than not, you and your baby will sail through your pregnancy and have a healthy and happy outcome. But if a problem does arise, the risk of infection can pose an immediate medical threat to your child.

It is frightening to come down with a fever and know that your baby is at risk of developing a potentially devastating health problem. The good news is that if you come down with an infection, it can probably be treated. And some maternal infections can actually be prevented.

3 Infections Pregnant Women Can Avoid

Rubella (German measles) - If you haven't had the measles or a shot to prevent it, make sure you get vaccinated before you become pregnant. This easy to avoid virus can cause brain damage and jaundice in your baby.

Toxoplasmosis - This parasitic infection comes from:

  -  Cat feces. Avoid cleaning the kitty box or wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands if you have to clean the box yourself.

  -  Eating raw or undercooked meat during pregnancy that is infected with the parasite. You can't tell by looking at the meat, so always cook it thoroughly.

  -  Unwashed or improperly washed fruits or vegetables that are infected. Again, you cannot tell if they are infected by looking at them. Always wash well, even if it's organic.

The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis is also found in soil and can therefore be transferred from bugs, insects, and birds. So always wash your hands thoroughly after gardening.

An added concern with toxoplasmosis is that you may not even suspect that you have the parasite. And if you do feel any effects, you will probably feel "flu-ish." This is an easy symptom to ignore when you are pregnant since you may not feel well anyway.

Toxoplasmosis is quite common in the American population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 60 million American's could be infected with the parasite.

Fortunately, if you or your doctor suspects you have toxoplasmosis, you can take a medication that is safe for your baby. But do take this infection seriously-the parasite can cause inflammation and brain damage, as well as jaundice, in your baby.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)/Kidney Infection

As a woman, chances are that at some point in your life you have or will come down with a urinary tract infection (UTI). The incidence in men is much lower. Why?

Simply put, a woman's physical makeup makes it easy for bacteria to reach the bladder where it can grow and create an infection. (A woman's urethra is located closer to the rectum than a man's.) And if you do not fully empty your bladder, bacteria are more likely to grow in the urine that was not emptied out.

If you have already experienced a UTI, then you know it's painful. But what you might not know is that developing a UTI or kidney infection while pregnant is much more serious. In fact, it increases your chances of developing high blood pressure, a condition that can cause you to deliver prematurely.

If You Suspect an Infection While Pregnant

If at some point during your pregnancy you suspect any type of infection, bring it to your doctor's attention immediately. Be sure that he or she takes your concerns seriously.

Some infections are easy to treat, and some can be prevented. But all maternal infections during pregnancy pose long-term health risks to your baby. One of those risks is developing cerebral palsy.

If You Had an Infection While Pregnant But Did Not Receive Due Care and Attention

Seek expert advice. It's the only way to know if your doctor and medical team did everything possible to keep you and your baby safe and healthy

Premature Birth

Did My Baby's Premature Birth Cause Cerebral Palsy?

Your baby's due date - as a parent, you anticipate it as one of the most exciting days of your life. You plan and decorate the nursery, buy tiny outfits, and choose a name. As your due date approaches, you start crossing off the days until your bundle of joy is to arrive.

Then your baby comes too early.

The day he is born you are wracked with fear, anger and disbelief.

This wasn't what you had envisioned for the arrival of your new baby.

When it's time for you to check out of the hospital, you must leave your new baby behind in the NICU. You still have more questions than answers. But you kiss your baby good-bye for the first time in his short life. And a small part of you dies.

"How did this happen to my child?" you wonder.

Fortunately, doctors are making huge strides in how premature babies are cared for, and "preemie" survival rates are increasing. The long-term prognosis for their health is also improving.

Preterm Babies are at Risk

If your baby is born prematurely, he is 8 times more likely to develop cerebral palsy. This is because his lungs don't have the chance to fully develop prior to birth, causing a lack of oxygen to his brain. Preemies are also at increased risk for developing cerebral palsy if their oxygen supply is cut off at any time before, during, or after birth.

Complications That May Cause Preterm Babies to Develop Cerebral Palsy

Delivering a baby prematurely can be heart wrenching-watching your child lying in an incubator hooked up to monitors cause you to ask, "What went wrong?"

However, a premature birth is only one of the risk factors that increases the odds of your baby developing cerebral palsy. Other risk factors include:

  -   Bleeding on the brain

  -  Brain injury from forceps and/or vacuum

  -  Small birth canal

  -  Prolapsed cord

Maternal conditions that may also increase the risk of a baby being born early and having cerebral palsy:

  -  High blood pressure

  -  A clotting disorder

  -  Or diabetes

Often these medical problems can easily be avoided. For example, your doctor can give you medication that will speed up your baby's lung development before delivery. Your doctor or nurse should also keep a close eye on your blood pressure and take fast action if it rises too high.

Doctors and nurses are trained to take such preventative measures. You are right to expect good medical care. You and your baby deserve it.

If Your Baby was ‘Accidentally' Born Too Soon

Perhaps you went into labor before your due date, and the doctors and nurses could not stop your body from delivering. This kind of premature birth is shocking, terrifying, and sometimes avoidable. About 25 to 30% of premature babies arrive as a "spontaneous preterm birth." It can happen if you have:

  -  Bacterial vaginosis (should be treated with antibiotics as soon as it's diagnosed)

  -  A short cervix

  -  An abnormal uterus

These conditions can be diagnosed by your doctor. If they are overlooked or ignored, your chances of experiencing a spontaneous preterm birth increase.

"Could Elective Cesarean Have Prevented My Child from Developing Cerebral Palsy?"

When your child is diagnosed with any type of medical problem, it's normal to ask yourself, "What could I or the doctors have done differently to prevent this from happening?" You might also wonder if your child would have avoided developing cerebral palsy if you had asked for a cesarean. Perhaps you didn't even know you could ask for one.

Some studies suggest that cesarean delivery may prevent medical conditions like cerebral palsy. Others suggest that elective c-sections do not prevent such conditions. However, there are situations where having a cesarean delivery may prevent the development of cerebral palsy:

  -  If you had placental abruption

  -  Your baby experienced fetal distress

  -  If you delivered a large baby

Ultimately, knowing if you would have benefited from a C-section can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Did You or Your Baby Have Any of These Complications?

If so, then you need expert advice on what to do. There is only one way to find out for sure if your doctor and medical team did everything they could to keep you and your baby safe and healthy. If your doctor failed you and your baby in any way, then you might be entitled to financial help.


Source www.cerebralpalsy.org

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