Robert A. Solomon, P.C.
800-469-6476
Two Offices Serving New York & New Jersey

Differentiating birth defects from birth injuries

As a New Jersey mom-to-be, your developing baby likely is always foremost in your mind. You can hardly wait until the day (s)he enters the world and you see him or her for the first time. Although your pregnancy has progressed normally and you do everything you possibly can to make sure both you and your growing baby stay healthy, you nevertheless probably occasionally worry that (s)he could suffer a birth injury or have a birth defect.

Thankfully, birth injuries occur rarely in the U.S., representing only 0.5 percent of live births. Birth defects, too, are reasonably rare, affecting 7 percent of U.S. babies. Regardless of these reassuring statistics, however, should your baby suffer either a birth defect or birth injury, (s)he could face catastrophic results

Birth injuries

A birth injury is defined as an injury to your baby that results from a complication during your labor and delivery process. For instance, your obstetrician may negligently use a delivery aid such as a pair of forceps, vacuum extraction, etc. Common birth injuries include the following:

  • Bruising or forceps marks
  • Fractures of your baby’s collarbone, shoulders or arms
  • Erb's palsy
  • Facial paralysis
  • Scalp swelling

Birth defects

If your baby suffers a birth defect, it generally happens well before your delivery date. His or her genetic heritage may be to blame, or (s)he may suffer some kind of harm during your pregnancy. Frequently this harm comes from a chemical in one of the drugs that your physician prescribes for you before or during your pregnancy. These chemicals and other agents go by the name of teratogens, and the most common ones are in the following drugs:

  • Ortho-Gyno, a birth control drug
  • Bendectin, an anti-nausea drug for pregnant women
  • Delalutin, a miscarriage prevention drug

Your best strategy for preventing your baby from suffering a birth defect is to never smoke, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs while pregnant and to always use your seat belt whenever you drive or ride in a vehicle. In addition, be very wary of prescription drugs. Always ask your doctor about the possible side effects and if (s)he feels certain you need to take one or more specific drugs. Perhaps alternatives exist.

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