Tips For Surviving Birth-Related Injuries

person holding infant's hand
Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

Around six in every 1,000 children born in the U.S. every year have serious birth injuries, causing issues such as fractures, developmental/neurological disorders, or disorders affecting a child’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture – such as cerebral palsy (CP). Receiving a diagnosis of a condition such as CP can be distressing, so it is important to give oneself time to come to terms with what may be unexpected news, and to take time to rest following a traumatic birth. When parents feel they are ready, there are many steps they can take to ensure that their child has the best, most independent life possible. These steps include researching your legal rights, creating a treatment and therapy plan, and seeking vital support from dedicated networks, groups and forums – both face-to-face and online.

Grief Can Last

A study by K Whittingham and colleagues, published in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation, has revealed that some parents of children who have been diagnosed with a condition such as CP can experience intense grief years after a diagnosis. Scientists suggest that for many parents, sadness is compatible with a healthy, normal reaction that can be met with coping strategies and help from health professionals. If you find that your grief is prolonged, ‘gold standard’ therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help you find proactive, positive ways to deal with moments of sorrow.

Knowing Your Legal Rights

While birth injuries such as fractures can be fixed relatively quickly, others (such as developmental and neurological disorders) can have effects that last a lifetime. Treatment and therapy can be expensive, with the lifetime costs related to caring for a child with CP amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is important to seek legal advice if the injury was caused by the acts or omissions of your healthcare provider. Cerebral palsy lawyers will be able to advise you on whether or not you could be entitled to damages. In the event of a successful case, the amount awarded can help ensure your child has the best care possible throughout his or her lifetime. In addition to knowing your legal rights, it is also important to research into any aid you may be entitled to – including help with home care and financial aid for medical expenses and required devices.

Creating A Treatment And Therapy Plan

Creating a treatment and therapy plan alongside your child’s medical team can help you and your child feel more empowered, since it can include specific goals you may set out to achieve. Your plan may include various therapies – including occupation therapy (focused on helping your child gain independence in daily routines), recreational therapy (such as horseback riding), and physical therapy (to hone strength, flexibility, coordination, and the like). Your doctor can also discuss new therapies (such as stem cell therapy), explaining the pros and cons of new approaches.

Joining Social Networks

Parents benefit greatly from meeting and interacting socially with other parents of children who have undergone a birth injury. Forming part of a network – either face-to-face or online – is not only key from a mental health perspective. It can also open up a world of resources, recommendations for health professionals and treatments, and reading materials that can greatly benefit your child and enhance their progress.

When your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, it is normal to feel overcome with conflicting emotions – including sadness. It is important to recognize these emotions and seek professional help if necessary. Once you feel ready to tackle practical matters, research your legal rights, and find out if you are entitled to any financial or other types of aid. Creating a treatment plan, discovering new therapies, and forming part of a social network can also help you set goals and feel more empowered as you achieve each one.

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