New Study: Babies Born in Rural Hospitals At Higher Risk of Birth Injury

Newborn baby in a hospital bassinet.

Understanding Birth Injury Risks

According to a 2003 publication from The National Library of Medicine, the rate of birth trauma in the United States ranges between 0.2 and 37 birth traumas per 1,000 live births. The range of trauma rates is broad and may be due to inconsistencies in reporting and a lack of population-based studies in birth trauma. However, a recent study led by Mayo Clinic and published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal shows that babies born in rural hospitals are at a higher risk of birth injury than those born in urban hospitals. Here’s why.

Why Do Rural Hospitals Have a Higher Rate of Birth Injuries?

The Mayo Clinic study analyzed inpatient data from Florida hospitals between 2013 and 2018. The research was gathered from 125 Florida inpatient hospitals and included data collected from 1,192,336 singleton births (a birth of only one child during a single delivery). The result of the study concluded that:

  • Rural hospitals were 3.99 times (p < 0.001) more likely to experience higher birth trauma than urban hospitals.
  • Medium-sized hospitals were 2.11 times (p < 0.001) more likely to experience higher birth trauma.
  • Hospitals that indicated having a safety culture were more likely (p < 0.05) to have high birth rates.

Should Pregnant Parents Worry About Their Birthing Care in Rural Hospitals?

The Mayo Clinic study was conducted to improve and solve the health care disparities present in rural areas. Thankfully, birth injuries are rare, and most babies are born without complications. However, when a birth injury does occur, it can mean life-threatening and long-term consequences.

To ease worries about the possibility of your baby sustaining a birth injury, have open communication with your neonatal health care team and other medical professionals involved in your pregnancy and baby’s birth. Ask questions, and learning about pregnancy and childbirth can help you take charge of your pregnancy health. However, your healthcare team is required to give you a standard of care, understand how to recognize the warning signs that a birth injury could occur, and understand medical protocol on how to prevent a birth injury from occurring.

Did Your Child Suffer a Birth Injury? We Can Help.

Learning your baby suffered a birth injury is devastating news. The uncertainties of their future and how you will care for them can be overwhelming emotionally and financially. Know that help is available and you are not alone. If the negligence of a medical professional caused your baby harm, our team of birth injury lawyers is here to help you seek justice. We are ready to answer your questions, explain your legal options and fight to protect your rights.

Learn if you are eligible to obtain financial compensation for your losses. Schedule a consultation with an attorney at Grewal Law PLLC by calling (888) 211-5798 today.


The Mayo Clinic - Advancing the Science: Babies Born in Rural Settings are More Likely to Experience Trauma During Birth, and One Way Mayo Clinic is Addressing This

The National Library of Medicine: Descriptive epidemiology of birth trauma in the United States in 2003

The National Library of Medicine: Hospital Geographic Location and Unexpected Complications in Term Newborns in Florida

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