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Important Not to Underestimate the Need for Birth Intervention

With all of the recent talk about the over-use of C-sections and the benefits of natural birth, our Chicago birth injury lawyers realize that it is important not to underestimate the risk of complications and the need for quick emergency medical intervention during my births. Obviously normal vaginal birth is ideal when all goes well in a pregnancy, the risks of surgery should never be borne if they can be prevented. However, at the end of the day, in many circumstances they cannot be prevented. The call for a lowering of C-section rates should be understood only in terms of those situations where it is not necessary. In many cases it is necessary. In fact, often the failure to conduct a timely C-section results in significant harm to a child. Many Illinois birth injury lawsuits that our firm handles have been based on that very notion.

An interesting new study reported in The Conversation blog yesterday suggests that many mother may actually underestimate the risk of needed intervention during their birth. The story explains that most women assume that odds are they will go through labor without needing any special intervention. However, new data suggests the opposite to be true. The authors note the “the disconnect between expectations and evidence means that new mothers may not be making informed and appropriate choices about the type of care they should get during pregnancy and where they give birth.”

Per the research, a medically uncomplicated birth was one with labor that starts naturally and does not require the use of special devices like forceps, suction cups, or necessitate C-section birth. The definition did call for use of pain relief measures like an epidural. In addition, skin tears or cuts were also not deemed to signify a complication. Expectant mothers, obstetricians, midwives, and medical students were all asked to predict the percentage of woman who would experience an uncomplicated birth, devoid of the above interventions or birth injuries.

Data using the same definitions above found that, amazingly, only one in five first time mothers would have an uncomplicated birth. A much smaller number-8%–would have a birth that also did not involve a vaginal tear or cut.

So how close were the guesses to the actual statistics?

The average guess from all participants was over 48%–more than twice the actual percentage of mothers who have an uncomplicated first time birth. The expectant mothers themselves were the most incorrect, guessing that 56% of women would not have complications. Medical students at the beginning of their training were just slightly better, estimating 53%. Medical staff members were closest to accurate at 38%, but they were still more than 17% off the actual mark.

Our birth injury attorneys were interested to read that the study’s authors speculated that the perceptions of mothers is likely caused by inaccurate data they receive from health professionals, media, and social contacts. Although others suggest that the problem is also that the intervention rates themselves are too high, unnecessarily driving up the disconnect between perception and reality.

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