You just found out that you're pregnant, and you couldn't be more thrilled. Your spouse is also very excited. However, this is your first child, so the two of you admittedly have no experience.
As you look into birth injuries, you keep finding that children who are born prematurely are at an elevated risk of injury. They're less developed and more fragile, and doctors must take extra precautions. Medical science has come a long way over the years, but you still find yourself worrying.
So, what are some of the risk factors that can lead to a premature birth? Is there anything you can do to prevent it and keep your child safe? The reality is that doctors can't always pin it on one thing, but there are some common factors that could lead to an early birth, including the following:
1. Multiple children.
If you're having twins or triplets -- or more -- the risk rises. If it's too early still and you don't know how many children you're having or the gender, this is important to keep in mind. If it turns out that you're having more than one child, you may not make it to full term.
2. Low weight gain.
Many people fret about weight gain during pregnancy, but your body needs it. Those who don't gain enough may actually be at a higher risk for a premature birth. This doesn't mean you should gain more than necessary -- being overweight is also a risk factor -- but there's a balance to be struck.
3. Poor nutrition and smoking.
These are two things you actually can control. What you put into your body has a huge impact on the child. If you choose to smoke, despite warnings not to do so, you could harm the child in many ways or cause it to be born early. It's also very important to eat well and take your vitamins.
Stress is one of the most interesting things that impacts the human body, as it's different for everyone. For those who are pregnant, it's actually linked to premature births, along with other issues, like high blood pressure.
5. In vitro fertilization.
Some couples have no choice but to use in vitro fertilization, but you must understand the risk. The child may be more likely not to make it to term than a child that you conceived traditionally.
Don't skip those visits to the doctor. You need to monitor your own health. Particular risk factors include lower genital tract infections and amniotic fluid infections.
One key thing to remember is that you still deserve a high level of care, no matter how early your child is born. The injury risks may rise, but that that's no excuse for medical negligence. If a doctor does injure your child during birth, especially when providing sub-standard care or using non-approved procedures, be sure you know if you have a right to compensation.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001