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Birth injury or birth defect: which is which?

As an expectant Oregon mother, you undoubtedly think a lot about your growing baby’s development and health. You look forward to his or her birth as one of the happiest days of your life. Occasionally, however, you may worry that your baby will receive a birth injury or that (s)he might be born with a birth defect.

FindLaw explains that thankfully, a birth injury occurs in only 0.5 percent of U.S. births. In comparison, the 7 percent incidence of birth defects is considerably higher, but still very low. Nevertheless, if your baby suffers either an injury or a defect, its consequences can be catastrophic.

Birth injuries

Birth injuries occur because a complication arises during your labor and/or delivery. Often an obstetrician or other health care professional uses an improper delivery technique or negligently uses delivery aids such as forceps or a vacuum.

Birth defects

Unlike a birth injury that happens during your baby’s delivery, a birth defect usually happens because your baby suffered harm sometime during your pregnancy. In other situations, that potential for harm existed even before you became pregnant due to your genetic heritage. In still other situations, the cause is unknown.

One frequent birth defect cause is a teratogen, that is, a chemical or other agent often found in drugs that your physician may prescribe for you. Three common teratogens are as follows:

  1. Ortho-Gyno, a spermicide (birth control drug)
  2. Delalutin, a miscarriage prevention drug
  3. Bendectin, an anti-nausea drug for pregnant women

The best thing you can do to prevent birth defects in your baby is to never take drugs, prescription or illegal, while pregnant. This is general information only and not intended to provide legal advice.