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When mom is the victim of a birth injury

Birth is a remarkable event. The birth of a child should be a joyous moment for the parents, but especially for the mother. She is responsible for the creation of a new life, a momentous occasion. Yet many mothers suffer birth injuries and complications after they give birth that are misdiagnosed or completely ignored.

Their injuries may not be as catastrophic as some birth injuries that a child may suffer, such as Erb’s palsy from a difficult birth or more severe brain injuries due to oxygen deprivation. But some can be surprisingly severe. A mother may endure undiagnosed tears in her pelvic floor muscles or her perineum, pelvic fractures or a vaginal prolapse. These undiagnosed injuries can cause much pain and exacerbate postpartum depression, especially if her complaints are dismissed by doctors.

Improper treatment can leave a woman depressed and in pain. In one example, a mother suffered a loss of feeling to her vagina, incontinence, inability to control her bowels and constant pain. It took her years of struggling with these symptoms before she found a doctor who correctly diagnosed her injuries and provided viable treatment.

While birth is often seen as routine and celebratory, women have to be their own advocate, often demanding doctors recognize their pain and other problems as real and not figments of their imagination or just emotions.

Women are often shamed into believing that every birth proceeds flawlessly and that if they are having difficulty, it must be their fault. One study found 29 percent of women had pubic bone fractures that they did not know they had and almost half have suffered incontinence a year after their child’s birth.

Any woman pregnant and preparing for birth should also be aware of the severe risks that while small, are nonetheless very real, such as toxemia or preeclampsia, a condition that if not properly identified and treated by doctors can lead to seizures and death of the mother.