Giving birth is not as safe as it should be in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is the only developed country in the world with an increasing maternal mortality rate.
Births are dangerous for women in the U.S. for several reasons, including systemic factors that minimize women’s concerns, particularly women of color. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Below, we discuss three ways healthcare workers can prevent traumatic births.
What Is a Traumatic Birth?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the maternal mortality rate is 17.4 per 100,000 live births in the U.S. Many maternal deaths result from traumatic births. A traumatic birth involves physical or psychological harm that occurs during the labor and delivery process. Such trauma may include:
- Healthcare workers violating mothers’ privacy
- Healthcare workers yelling at or intimidating mothers
- Healthcare workers performing procedures without mothers’ consent
- Healthcare workers using birth assistance tools incorrectly
How Healthcare Workers Can Prevent Traumatic Births
While the main way to reduce the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is to implement widespread, systemic change in the healthcare system, there are certain measures that individual healthcare workers can take to improve mothers’ safety in the delivery room:
#1. Take Mothers’ Concerns Seriously
Women across the country have reported a startling phenomenon: their concerns are not taken as seriously as male patients. This can have dire consequences in the delivery room. When mothers’ healthcare providers do not listen to their complaints of pain or distress, they may miss a potential warning sign of a serious issue.
Common issues that arise in the delivery room include:
- Failure to progress
- Fetal distress
- Excessive bleeding
Being attentive to mothers and listening to their concerns may be the first step to preventing a traumatic birth.
#2. Respond to Events Quickly
Another systemic issue in the healthcare system is overworked healthcare workers. This particular factor has become even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the fact still remains that expectant mothers require attentive service from healthcare workers during the many hours of their labor and after delivery. Issues stemming from childbirth can arise at any time, and a slow response from a healthcare worker could mean the difference between life and death for a mother and her baby.
#3. Do Not Discharge Mothers Too Early
Mothers are being discharged from the hospital too soon after giving birth. Many maternal health complications arise after a woman is released from the hospital.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the decline in postnatal stay in the hospital is considered to be primarily policy-driven in efforts to accommodate a rising birth rate in the U.S. To that end, the number of women discharged from the hospital three days from giving birth increased from 32% in 1975 to 91% in 2014.
Postpartum conditions that often arise include the following:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Infection or sepsis
- Excessive bleeding
- Pulmonary embolism
- High blood pressure
- Anesthesia complications
What to Do if You Experienced a Traumatic Birth
A traumatic birth can be physically and psychologically devastating for mother and baby. If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic birth at the hands of a healthcare worker, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.
Our Miami medical malpractice attorneys are passionate about protecting patients’ rights against large hospitals and insurance companies. We encourage you to contact our office to learn about your legal options. The compensation you may recover could help you and your child on the road to recovery.
Call Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen at (866) 629-1061 to schedule a free consultation.