Birth Defects Attorneys Providing Legal Advice to Families in Hunterdon and Somerset County New Jersey
Birth defects are structural changes in an infant’s body present at birth that are caused by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. While the causes of many birth defects are still unknown, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that they occur in nearly 3 percent of all live births. They are one of the leading causes of infant death, accounting for about one of every five infant deaths, according to 2011 data by the Health Resources and Service Administration. And in New Jersey, one in 25 children is born with a major birth defect, according to the CDC’s New Jersey Birth Defect permanent Registry.
Most birth defects form during the first trimester, and pregnant women may wonder if they are traceable and preventable, as well as whether they can pursue a medical malpractice or birth injury case if they believe that a birth defect is the result of negligence on the part of a doctor or hospital.
What causes birth defects, and are they preventable?
What steps can be taken to support the prevention of birth defects?
What are your rights to file a birth injury lawsuit?
Causes and Prevention of Birth Defects in NJ
Birth defects are commonly caused by one of the following primary issues, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:
- genetic changes or mutations
- chromosomal problems
- exposure to non-organic agents and medications during pregnancy
Genetic changes and chromosomal problems account for some birth defects and are largely unpreventable. Infections and exposure to inorganic agents during pregnancy, however, are growing causes of birth defects and can often be prevented.
A 2012 report by the Cleveland Clinic noted that as many as 1 in 10 cases of birth defects could be prevented, as they are caused by infection, exposure to inorganic agents, and other environmental factors.
For example, women who contract the Zika virus during pregnancy are at a heightened risk of having a child with a birth defect called microcephaly, in which the child’s brain and skull are smaller than those of healthy infants, causing many developmental issues throughout life. The CDC offers a number of tips for preventing infections before and during pregnancy in support of preventing infection-caused birth defects.
Studies show that pregnant women who took thalidomide, an immunomodulatory drug used in the treatment of certain cancers, were at a higher risk for giving birth to a child with birth defects, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Additionally, pregnant women’s exposure to the German measles and hydrocarbons elevated infant risk of birth defects.
Minimizing Risk of Birth Defects Hunterdon NJ
To support safe pregnancy and reduce preventable cases of birth defects, the CDC recommends
- taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy to support healthy infant brain and spine development;
- checking with your doctor before taking any medications during pregnancy;
- staying up-to-date with vaccinations including the flu shot during pregnancy;
- maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy and engaging in light exercise regularly;
- washing hands regularly after contact with children, animals, and any unclean surfaces,
- reducing the risk of infections such as the Zika virus by using a condom or refraining from sex during pregnancy if in a country where Zika is prevalent, as well as taking care to prevent mosquito bites;
- And refraining completely from alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy;
Contact Somerville NJ Medical Malpractice and Negligence Attorneys
If you are pregnant or have recently given birth to a child with a birth defect, and you believe it may be the result of healthcare provider negligence or a heavy workload, talk to a birth defect lawyer to understand and explore your options. Remember that causes of birth defects are varied; a consultation with a birth defect lawyer will help you to assess the situation during this difficult time, as well as to know your rights should a birth defects case be appropriate.
At The Law Office of Brian J. Levine, we will do our best to investigate your claim, back it up with expert testimony and documentation to build a solid case and get the fair compensation for you, your child and your family.
You don´t have to carry this burden alone, call (908) 524-0123 or fill out our online form for free initial case consultation with a firm that cares and provides proper legal counsel, where experience and dedication matters.