Between three and 20 full-term infants out of 1,000 live births are born with a condition called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This refers to any dysfunction of the brain caused by a reduction in oxygen and blood going to the brain. Texas residents should know that among pre-term infants, 60% develop HIE.
Although it's not common, some pregnant women in Texas may suffer from a condition known as HELLP syndrome. It's important that HELLP is recognized because it can have a maternal mortality rate of 1.1% and an infant mortality rate of 10% to 60%.
Intraventricular hemorrhage is a condition that frequently develops in newborns, especially those born more than 10 weeks early when their blood vessels are not fully developed. The condition refers to bleeding in the ventricles, or fluid-filled areas, of the brain. Texas residents should know that there are four grades of IVH. Grades 3 and 4 IVH can be severe, pressing on the brain tissue and even directly involving it.
Soon-to-be mothers in Texas may want to know about a rare birth injury called Klumpke paralysis. This paralysis is caused by injuries to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves extending from the spinal cord to the first rib and to the armpits. These nerves control movement in the shoulders, arms and hands.
Vacuum extraction describes the use of a vacuum-powered suction cup during birth to aid the movement of an infant through the vagina during delivery. Women in Texas might be asked to consent to this procedure when their physicians deem the labor to be prolonged or if continued labor could jeopardize the health of the mother or infant. This procedure must be done in a birthing center or hospital capable of providing cesarean sections if the emergency surgery becomes necessary. Although uncommon, injuries to the mother or infant can result from vacuum extraction.
Some pregnant women in Texas may be at risk for a condition known as preeclampsia. This is one of the main causes of illness and mortality worldwide among pregnant women and infants, but if caught in time, it can be monitored and treated.
Spina bifida is a birth defect where the spine does not grow around the nerves of the spinal column, leaving the nerves vulnerable to injury. Expectant mothers in Texas should know that they can reduce the risk for spina bifida by as much as 70 percent by taking folic acid supplements. Doctors can screen for the condition as early as 21 weeks into a pregnancy.
Umbilical cord compression is a condition with serious health risks. Various injuries can result in pressure being exerted on the umbilical cord, but the most common cause of compression, Texas residents should know, is umbilical cord relapse. This occurs when the umbilical cord slips ahead of the infant before birth and becomes compressed in the birth canal.
Texas parents who have a child with a condition stemming from a birth injury may wonder if they were negligent in any way. Actually, many birth injuries are the fault of the health care providers, and they are frequently drug-related. Perhaps the wrong drug is administered, or the wrong dosage or the right dosage at the wrong time.
Childbirth in Texas should be a joyous time for expectant parents. However, complications can develop with life-long consequences for the baby or the mother in labor. When the injuries are due to medical malpractice, the stress can be overwhelming.