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The Mental Impact of a Birth Injury

Suffering a birth injury, whether as a mother or infant, can have a profound impact on the victim mentally and emotionally. The trauma of a complicated birth or painful birth injury can remain with a victim for the rest of his or her life. The emotional toll of a birth injury can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including the ability to work and maintain meaningful relationships with others. A Philadelphia birth injury attorney can fight for justice for you or a loved one if you were harmed by medical negligence.

Postpartum Depression

An estimated 10% or higher of new mothers experience a mental health condition known as postpartum depression. This medical condition is characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness, worry and anxiety. Postpartum depression can last for weeks or months after giving birth and may cause mood swings, chronic depression and anxiety, and fatigue. Birth injuries increase the odds of a mother suffering postpartum depression.

Chronic Anxiety

Chronic anxiety may arise after a birth injury. The injured child’s parents may experience constant anxiety regarding their child’s future with a permanent disability or long-term injury, for example. Parents may also feel stressed and overwhelmed at the prospect of caring for a child with special needs or a complex medical condition.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can occur after living through or experiencing any type of traumatic event. A complicated birth, emergency situation or an infant suffering a birth injury can cause PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, trouble sleeping and cold sweats. Shock and denial are also common after traumatic birth injuries, as parents may have difficulty accepting the reality of the situation.

Guilt or Shame

Parents may experience feelings of guilt, shame or self-blame for a birth injury, even if it was outside of their control. For example, a mother might wonder if there was something she could have done differently during her pregnancy or delivery to prevent a birth injury to the infant. These feelings can lead to depression, substance abuse or self-harm behaviors.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Birth injury victims may experience an overall loss of enjoyment of life or diminished quality of life due to their injuries and the mental impact they cause. For instance, a victim with a permanent disability may miss out on favorite hobbies and activities or be unable to earn a living. In addition, parents who must care for a severely injured child may have their own complex feelings about the situation and feel emotionally drained as caregivers.

Impacts on Maternal Bonding

It is common for mothers who go through traumatic birthing experiences to have trouble bonding with their new babies. A traumatic birth injury can result in a complex mix of emotions, such as blaming the child for pain suffered or feelings of guilt or inadequacy for a perceived childbirth “failure.” The parent-child bond can also be negatively affected by a child with special needs as the parents struggle to adapt to their new life.

Issues With Relationships

A serious birth injury can affect a mother’s relationships with others, including her spouse. Being intimate with a partner, for example, could result in anxiety about becoming pregnant again. A traumatized mother also may not be able to return to normal relationships with friends, which can contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

If you have experienced any form of emotional trauma or a mental impact from a birth injury in Philadelphia, discuss the possibility of securing pain and suffering damages from the at-fault party with an attorney at Youman & Caputo.