Medical Malpractice Attorneys Providing Legal Advice to Families in Somerville, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, and Somerset New Jersey
Birth is a time of great initiation for all – the family, the parents, and the child – and are a time of great excitement. Little is more devastating than learning that a newborn suffers from inhibiting birth defects and can lead a mother to question her own role and the external factors involved in the abnormal health of her child.
Birth defects are the result of changes in the structure of an infant’s body at birth. These structural changes can occur as a result of numerous factors, including their genes, mother’s actions during pregnancy, and environmental influences. About 3 percent of live births involve some birth defect, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though there is still much unknown about the causes of many birth defects. Additionally, a startling 20 percent of infant deaths are caused by a birth defect, notes a study by the Health Resources and Service Administration.
Because many birth defects are caused by genetics, they often form during the first trimester. Genetics is not the only cause of an early-onset birth defect, however, and many in the field wonder if there is more than can be done to predict or prevent birth defect.
Additionally, upon learning that a child has a birth defect, whether in-utero or post-natal, many families question if medical malpractice or negligence played a role in the defect, and as such, whether it is possible to pursue a birth injury or medical malpractice lawsuit.
Factors Causing Birth Defects in Somerset County Hospitals
There are four main factors that cause the majority of birth defects, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:
- gene structure changes
- abnormalities in chromosomal development
- infections affecting the mother and/or child
- medications or other non-natural influences ingested during pregnancy
Of course, in the case of changes in genetics or chromosomal abnormalities, there is very little that a mother can do to shift these changes or prevent them from causing birth defects in their children. Preventing infections, however, as well as abstaining from ingesting non-natural medications during pregnancy, can go a long way to protect the health of the child during its crucial development in-utero.
Effects of Zika Virus in Pregnant Women in NJ
The Centers for Disease Control provides specific advice to support the prevention of infections in pregnant women that could have adverse effects on infant development.
The Zika virus, which increases an infant’s risk of developing a birth defect called microcephaly, affecting the size and function of a child’s brain and skull, has become public enemy number one for pregnant women in recent years, due to a sharp increase in births of children with microcephaly, particularly in infants born to mothers who traveled within tropical countries during pregnancy.
And in New Jersey, one in 25 children is born with a major birth defect, according to the CDC’s New Jersey Birth Defect Registry.
Fortunately, there are many things that a mother can do to support the prevention of birth defects during pregnancy, according to the CDC:
- Folic acid aids the development of the infant’s brain and nervous system in-utero. Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily in the months before pregnancy and throughout provide great support.
- Preventing the spread of germs by washing hands with warm water and soap after coming into contact with animals, children, and unclean surfaces help prevent infection during pregnancy.
- Using a condom or abstaining from sex with someone who has been in a country where mosquitos may carry the Zika virus is wise infection prevention.
- Utilizing herbal and natural medicine as possible, and consulting a doctor before using any medication, can help reduce birth defects caused by inorganic substances.
- Getting a flu shot while pregnant is helpful.
- Engaging the health of the body, including eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and exercising gently on a daily basis, are great supports for healthy infant and maternal development throughout the pregnancy process.
Somerville Medical Malpractice and Child´s Birth defects Attorneys
In New Jersey, where one in 25 births is a child with a birth defect, according to the CDC’s New Jersey Birth Defect Registry, we are committed to ensuring that you and your family are supported and legally protected.
If your infant was recently born with a birth defect, and you think that the birth defect could have been caused by medical malpractice or negligence, please contact Brian J. Levine. He will help you determine the next steps during this difficult time to ensure that your rights are legally upheld. Call (908) 524-0123 for free initial case consultation or visit his website to fill out an online form.