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Kaiser Permanente has been in the news before for groundbreaking findings in the field of Autism research. In recent years, they’ve seemed to focus on causation for Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD. In the recent past, they’ve made headlines for studies showing that maternal hospital acquired infections can increase autism risk, that younger siblings of children with an ASD diagnosis are more likely to also have the condition, and that mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to have a child with ASD. Their latest finding, released in January, has revealed a strong relationship between pregnancy and labor complications and an increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The study was performed through analysis of records of 594,638 children that were born between 1991-2009 at a Kaiser Permanente hospital. Of the nearly 600,000 records examined, 37% of the children were born to mothers who experienced a complication at some point during pregnancy or labor itself. The study showed that children born to mothers who had labor complications had a 10% increased risk of developing an ASD.  The real finding lies in this: Of the children who were born to mothers who faced a pregnancy complication, the risk of developing ASD increased another 12%, or a 22% overall higher risk. If a child was exposed to complications during both pregnancy and labor, it jumped to a 44% increased risk.

What Was Considered a Pregnancy or Labor Complication?

The study authors noted that preeclampsia (primarily presents itself by elevated maternal blood pressure either during pregnancy and/or at the time of labor) and asphyxia (loss of fetal oxygen) were two birth complications that showed the strongest connection to an increased risk of ASD development in children. Other complications said to have a connection during pregnancy and labor were the position of the baby (breech), placental separation, a prolapsed/exposed umbilical /’cord and something known as fetal dystocia (larger baby or baby in an irregular position that causes difficult delivery).

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In January, researchers from the Université de Montréal released their findings from a study on the connection between antidepressant use in pregnancy and the risk of birth defects. The study examined 18,487 pregnant women with a diagnosis of depression, taken from a database of 289,688 recorded pregnancies between the years 1998 to 2009. 20% of the 18,487 women who identified themselves as depressed took antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy. The finding? Women who took antidepressants have an increased risk of delivering a baby with a birth defect.

The study found that use of antidepressants during the first trimester increases the risk of birth defects from 3 to 5% in women who did not take the drugs, to 6 to 10%. The study also examined the types of defects associated with specific antidepressants. The study found that Celexa was associated with a higher risk of major defects and Paxil with heart defects.

Medication Safety Guidelines During Pregnancy

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Many women are provided with various medications designed to help induce labor. These drugs may contribute to injuries to the baby during birth. Problems may occur both in the mother and infant that could be serious or even dangerous. Long-term health issues could occur due to mistakes made during labor or delivery.

Reasons for Inducing Labor

There are a number of reasons why a doctor may want to induce labor. When the baby is overdue, the doctor may induce labor so the baby does not suffer distress or become too large. Most often, labor inducing drugs are provided when the mother’s labor is stalled. This can happen, for example, after being given an epidural. Epidurals or other pain-relieving medications can sometimes slow labor. Then, labor inducing drugs are necessary to avoid distress to the mother or baby.

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Parents expect that their baby will be born healthy. While that happens in most situations, unfortunately, some babies are injured during birth. When this happens, parents, and other family members, are probably devastated. Sadly, many of these injuries could have been prevented had the medical team had not been negligent. When the injuries are serious, they may require quite a bit of ongoing medical treatment, and, in some cases, lifelong care. Parents may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages caused by the doctor.

Birth Injury Cases

If the doctor, nurse, or other member of the medical profession was negligent, they should be held responsible for the injuries. Medical negligence usually falls under the general category of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor does something, or fails to do something, that he knows could be harmful to the patient. Birth injuries are often caused by a mistake the doctor makes during labor or delivery of the infant.  

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The birth of your baby is one of the happiest days of your life. That is, unless your baby suffers a birth injury. Although they happen infrequently, birth injuries are often caused by the negligent care of a doctor or medical team. The mother of a baby injured at birth has filed a lawsuit against the doctor and hospital, claiming her daughter’s injury was due to improper medical care. The lawsuit names Roseland Community Hospital, and a doctor, and is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Hypoxia in Newborns

Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen to the brain. In newborns, it is usually the result of aspiration that takes place in utero. This can happen with a difficult or prolonged birth. When the baby suffers reduced oxygen intake for longer than a few minutes, brain damage may occur. The infant may suffer from various types of brain injuries including the possibility of cerebral palsy.

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The birth of a baby should be a happy time for families. Sometimes, unfortunately a birth injury may occur that causes serious harm to the baby during labor or delivery. Of the various types of injuries, brain trauma is one of the most severe, and can be disabling. Cerebral palsy may sometimes be the result of a mistake or problem that causes a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. This lack of oxygen can cause cerebral palsy or other mental disabilities. Parents of infants who suffered a lack of oxygen are naturally concerned about the extent of the injuries sustained. There are some tests that should be done to determine cerebral palsy.

Observation of Behaviors

One of the first signs of possible problems can be detected by observing the behavior of the infant. A baby that suffers a seizure should certainly be examined and diagnosed for the possibility of cerebral palsy or another serious problem. However, there are often small behaviors that could indicate cerebral palsy. For example, parents should note the frequent occurrence of involuntary movements of the limbs. Drooping or limpness of a limb or part of the body could also be cause for concern.

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A birth injury is devastating to families and may require extensive and expensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and care. When a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice it is caused by negligence on the part of the doctor or medical staff. Generally speaking, there are 3 main possible causes of malpractice injuries to newborns. Negligence may occur in the mistreatment of high-risk pregnancy, in the failure to properly treat fetal distress, or in the improper handling of an assisted birth.

Negligence during Pregnancy Treatment

Doctors must perform medical examinations, evaluations, and tests of the mother and fetus during the pregnancy. The failure to diagnose a significant medical condition that could be cause for complications or problems is likely considered medical malpractice. Pre-eclampsia is one of several common pregnancy complications that are treatable when diagnosed early and managed properly. If a mother’s physical condition is not adequately diagnosed and treated, the baby may suffer harm.

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Parents joyfully await the birth of their baby, planning for their new family addition. Unfortunately, there are some babies who are injured during the labor or delivery process. These injuries may range from minor to severe or even life-threatening. Mistakes made by doctors during pregnancy or labor could be to blame for many of these incidents. Some babies are at higher risk for the possibility of birth injuries than others.

Birth Injury Risks

There are a number of conditions that may increase the risk for a birth injury to occur. Some of the most common risks for birth injuries include:

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The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion. Sometimes, however, the celebration is marred when the infant sustains a serious birth injury. In one recent case, a mother filed a lawsuit in Cook County against a doctor and medical practice alleging neglect led to her son’s birth injury. According to the lawsuit, the doctor failed to provide proper care during labor and delivery which resulted in a brain injury. The woman is requesting a jury trial and damages of more than $50,000.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, HIE, is a severe brain injury that can occur to newborns during labor or delivery. HIE limits the flow of oxygen to the brain resulting in a reduction of brain function and permanent disability. The extent of the damage depends on the length of time the infant was without oxygen. Almost one fourth of neonatal deaths are attributed to HIE.

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The birth of a child is one of the happiest days in the lives of parents. However, for some, the joy can be replaced by sadness and distress if the infant suffers a medical problem. Many parents wonder whether an injury was caused by a mistake made by the doctor or whether the injury was not preventable. There are distinctions between a birth defect and a birth injury.

Birth Defects

Birth defects are generally medical issues that were present in the womb and were not a result of mistakes made during labor or delivery. Some of the most common birth defects include: