How Prenatal Care Reduces the Risk of Birth Injuries
This post was written by Andrea Girones:
If you are planning on having a baby, receiving quality prenatal care is one of the most important steps that you can take to ensure your child’s health and safety before and during the delivery. Whether you decide to see a midwife, an obstetrician or your family doctor, the care that you receive should be similar.
Your caregiver will take a detailed medical history from you and your child’s father to determine if the baby should be tested for any particular genetic conditions or if you should be more carefully monitored for any particular health problems that might arise during your pregnancy. During your pregnancy, you will visit your caregiver on a regular basis. The frequency of visits may vary. In Ontario, you will typically see your caregiver once per month during the first few months of your pregnancy, once every two weeks after the 20th week of gestation, and once per week during the month leading up to your due date.
At each visit, your caregiver will take your blood pressure, monitor your weight gain, perform an analysis of your urine and measure your abdomen to track the growth of the fetus. Your caregiver may also recommend that you have additional laboratory tests performed. Ultrasounds are also a standard part of prenatal care in Ontario.
These tests will help your caregiver to determine if you are at risk of having a baby with a low birth weight. For example, if you smoke or are carrying twins or multiples you may run a greater risk of having a baby with a low birth weight. A baby with a low birth weight is smaller and more fragile, and is therefore more likely to suffer an injury during delivery. Some babies fail to grow at the expected rate in the womb. This may be an indication that there is a problem with the placenta and the baby is not receiving sufficient oxygen or nutrients. Your caregiver may recommend that your undersized baby be delivered early, by cesarean section.
Your caregiver will monitor you during your pregnancy for signs of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes and bacterial or viral infections that can affect the baby. If these conditions are caught right away, the mother can often be treated and the baby protected from harm. In some situations, the caregiver will recommend that the baby be delivered early. In other situations, the caregiver may recommend proceeding with caution, planning for possible complications during the delivery.
If you are concerned that your caregiver failed to provide you with adequate prenatal care, contact our experienced birth injury lawyers.